Saturday, April 30, 2011

Square Pegs and Round Holes (Part III)

Hope you had a wonderful Easter. Before we jump back into the subject of “Interview With Purpose”, I’d just like to remind you of my blog entry of January 22, 2011 titled “That Giant Sucking Sound”. Wish I’d been wrong about that one.

We’ve covered the first four items on the “Interview With Purpose” checklist:

1. Can the company successfully compete in its market?
2. What is the company “culture”?
3. What are the expected outcomes? How is success measured for this position?
4. Will I have access to the resources required to be successful in this role?

Now on to numbers 5 & 6:

5. Do my skills and experience truly qualify me for this position?
6. Would I hire myself for this position?

These are the most challenging questions one must face when interviewing for a position. Let’s face it, when you interview for a job that you really want, you are in full sales mode. You will tend to “stretch” to match your skills and experience to those required for the position. The primary reason candidates do this is because quite often IT WORKS. Depending on the positions you’ve held in the past, the companies you’ve worked for and what your references have to say about you, it’s not that tough to convince an employer that you are truly qualified for a certain position. And if the employer is anxious to fill the role and doesn’t really ask probing questions, you will likely get the job. And unfortunately, you will likely fail…very soon and very conspicuously.

Be honest with yourself. Do you really have what it takes to be successful in the position? Would you hire yourself for the position? I’m not saying that you have to be the best person for the position, but you better darn sure be well-qualified. However, when someone really wants the position, or perhaps desperately NEEDS the position; the focus is on getting the job, not determining if they can actually do the job.

This is a really tough subject. As a headhunter, I get paid to find people to fill positions with my client companies. As an experienced headhunter and an experienced industry professional, I tend to be overly critical in evaluating candidates, especially when the client has been very clear and specific in what they expect from the position. It’s also very frustrating when I see clients hiring people who are not truly qualified for the position. Increasingly, I’m taking the position that if a candidate is talented and motivated, a good fit for the company (not necessarily the position) and the company has a track record of hiring “off spec”; I should go ahead and submit the candidate. As a result I am more dependent than ever on candidates and clients being open, honest and transparent in the interview process; to interview with purpose. Frankly, I see other headhunters as well as internal recruiters taking the same approach in presenting candidates. So candidates beware. Just because you’re getting an interview, don’t assume that you are really qualified for the position. Take a look in the mirror. Check yourself, before you wreck yourself.

Next week, the final installment of this series.

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