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Formal job interviews: love them or loathe them, they are impossible to avoid. Whether you’re an employer or a candidate, they demand a lot of time, focus and energy.
In all walks of life, it is always beneficial to understand where the ‘other guy’ is coming from.
In an on-line survey Vista People carried out in October and November of this year (the height of the interviewing season), we asked employers what they were looking for in a prospective candidate, and to rank these in order of importance. These were the results:

  1. The candidate must have a good personal reputation
  2. Personal integrity
  3. Proven track record for role
  4. Good communications skills, able to sell and influence others
  5. High Emotional Intelligence
  6. Flexibility
  7. High IQ
  8. Leadership ability or skills

And over on the other side of the table, what were candidates looking for in the potential new employer?

  1. Equal or increase my salary
  2. The role will provide a good work / life balance
  3. Ability to move up the career ladder
  4. Reputation of employer
  5. The employer must value me
  6. Good location of employer
  7. Will this role add to my learning curve?
  8. The stability of the employer

Okay, know we know what each party is looking for, what about the interview itself?
Beyond being able to infer from observed behaviours such as body language and non-verbal cues, formal interviews are at best an opportunity to match the candidate to the CV, and to ask questions that relate to the roles and experiences described.

More recently, our experience has been that employers often opt for a second or third interview that is less formal, perhaps held in less formal surroundings, and which may be over a cup of coffee. Because of time constraints, this is only feasible with a candidate or candidates who look like they might “go the distance.”

What does a less restrictive exchange like this permit?

Firstly, it’s not about catching a candidate out, or throwing them off their guard. There are plenty of meeting-room questions that can be used for this – if that’s your style. Remember: your Company is still selling itself to the candidate. For a Senior Manager, it’s going to take a lot of things to align for them to leave a good employer, and a possibly a very good job.

Less structured meetings that allow the Employer to punctuate the conversation with supportable facts as to its reputation, business standing and what has gone into achieving these, are highly valuable. Why? Because when we have the right candidate in front of us, it’s our turn to sell.

We like to remind employers that they may be arranging the interviews, but throughout the entire process, they are also being interviewed. And so – take every opportunity to let a prospective Senior Hire, for example, know exactly what your organisation stands for.

Because good businesses are always visualising where they see themselves in five (ten, fifteen twenty) years time, and the best way to make these plans a reality is to find the best people – and not let them out of your sight.

Oh and finally, employers, by Q2 2018, Ireland will have reached full employment (94.5%) so getting candidates into your interviews will become even more challenging. A professional Executive Search consultant could just very well be your new best friend!

 

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