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job interview

During a job interview you need to beware of your own behaviour.  In fact, we often rely on our instincts and our feelings rather than a standardised process.  This can be a real problem because we are all, at one moment or another, prisoners of stereotypes, preferences and prejudices which will influence the choice of questions and the evaluation of a candidate.

For this reason, professional recruiters are better at detecting untruths than part-time recruiters.  Recruiting necessitates knowing a certain number of techniques in order to avoid the pitfalls of an interview. 

Recruiting also means making comparisons – no one is intrinsically good or bad; the good candidate is the one who matches the vacancy of fits the culture of the company. This is why a professional recruiter interviewing 250 directors per annum will be more efficient than a manager who recruits a new Finance Director once every 5 years and who will have as a reference, 25 other Finance Directors for comparison.

You will say I am singing my own praises.  Probably, but recruitment is a management task too important to leave to ‘Sunday recruiters’.

Conducting an interview 20 years ago was easier because great importance was placed on the technical qualities of the candidate and less on his or her soft skills (empathy, emotional intelligence, etc.), which are paramount today.

It has been proven that we project our wishes during the course of an interview; if we want an extrovert candidate, we ask more questions which will lead to answers complying with this criterion.  Furthermore, I find candidates are better and better prepared and often tell you what you want to hear.  As an interview remains central to the recruitment process, I recommend the following solutions to avoid the pitfalls of a job interview:

  1. Have several people meet the candidate and compare your opinions.
  2. Take up references from the candidate’s former superiors and subordinates.
  3. Have the candidate take pyschometric tests. This can help to show up unacceptable flaws.
  4. Do some research into the candidate’s e-reputation.
  5. If you really want to go further, have dinner with the candidate, play a round of golf or a game of tennis or go rambling, and if possible meet his or her partner.
  6. Finally, it is behavioural questions which will provide you with the greatest number of clues about the candidate.

‘Could you tell me about a stressful situation you encountered recently at work?’

‘How did you cope with this stress?’

Last of all, once you have avoided all these pitfalls and applied the methods described above, you must work on the subject of you – learn to know yourself.  This is the sine qua non of becoming a good recruiter.

Charles-Henri Dumon, CEO & Founder of Morgan Philips Group @CHDumonMorgan

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