on job interviews

Recently, I was asked about the 5 key factors I considered relevant or fundamental when conducting a job interview. I must say human resources is not my area of studies neither is it my background but I could say that throughout the dozens of interviews I’ve conducted up till today, I’ve developed some skills, or some experience in eliminating candidates to say the least. Firstly I should say that my experience comes from recruiting candidates for very specific functions, always in small teams working in a very controlled environment. Therefore, more than professional skills my aim is to try to address personal skills and evaluate how the candidate fits in a specific team and culture. Finally, I also truly believe that no matter how unskilled people are, they can outperform if put in the correct environment. So, in no particular order of relevance, here are the 5 pillars I go through when conducting a job interview:

1. Respect.

A candidate must understand that he/she is not alone in the whole process. Some processes take several days, even weeks. Being on time, respecting the scheduled time for the interview, being objective and doing some homework are some previous requirements to get on track. Politeness or some “polish” the first one lacking, are also very appreciated.

2. Sense and Sensibility.

Understanding the environment you are dealing with. Bringing up the right and relevant assets will make a difference (Who cares if you speak Chinese when you are being interviewed to work in Portugal and in a Spanish company ?). It will reveal the candidate’s awareness and accuracy. It’s not about showing off how smart or how academically well endorsed they are. It’s all about how intelligent they are and how mentally flexible they are. I don´t bother too much about CV’s, I know how to read and I probably have read it before. They will only get the interview started. If I detect potential in a candidate I try to put him/her at ease and make myself completely open to answer to his/her questions. Someone said that power is in the question, not in the answer. I totally agree with this and I must say that questions asked are a great key to understanding how mature and “reality attached” the candidate’s thinking is.

3. Honesty.

Honesty pays off. Or putting it the other way around, it will be easy to figure out if you are lying. If the candidate has proven to be worthy of it, I could dig into the reasons of why a particular lie comes up. After all, we are not proud of everything we did in our lives and sometimes people make mistakes. Still, if we manage to get to this point, a major shift of attitude will be required, or else. Truth and honesty will (almost) always generate reciprocity.

4. Background and life experience.

This always gives me the right feeling about the candidate. By sharing personal experiences people get more emotive and start to be a whole lot more responsive. When you start to talk with people about their lives you always get to their core and their genuineness. Also how they were brought up and their contribution to their lifes. By having friendly chats in friendly environments, where people are at ease, “outside of the bounds” questions just come up and one leads to another. If you pay enough attention you will get their vibe, their rhythm, their motivation and their dreams. To sum up, you will get to their nature.

5. Empathy.

This is the most irrational part of the process. It’s not in any book. It’s your gut and you should, allways , stick to it.

So, what do you think about these 5 factors ? Which other factors would you have in mind while conducting a job interview ?



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