interview

BEHIND THE SCENES: WHAT CANDIDATES ARE REALLY BEING JUDGED ON

BEHIND THE SCENES: WHAT CANDIDATES ARE REALLY BEING JUDGED ON

candidate experience

So you were confident that you nailed the final interview and all the buying signs were there, but you didn’t get the job offer – what went wrong?

Possible answer: the recruiter vetoed the hiring decision because of how you behaved (not how you performed) during the interview process. Looking back on my career, I can recount numerous times when I’ve voted against offering a candidate the job or have rescinded a job offer due to poor Candidate Behaviour.

What is Candidate Behaviour?

Candidate Behavior is the way a candidate behaves throughout every touch point of the interview process. For example, the way you answer your phone, the ‘voice’ you use in your emails, your flexibility when scheduling interviews, your consistency of communication, how quickly you return calls and emails, how you behave at the offer stage, and your general attitude during interactions. Think of Candidate Behaviour as the inverse of Candidate Experience: it’s the overall experience that an organization will have with you as a candidate.

Why is it important?

Your overall behaviour as a candidate has a significant impact on how far you progress through the interview process. Regardless of conscious intention, the entire interview process (not just the interview stages) is really seen as a ‘test run’ for how you’ll interact with the company as an employee. If the recruiter feels that you are a difficult candidate to work with, then it’s assumed that you’ll also be a difficult employee to work with and may vote against progressing your application to the next step.

Why talk about it now?

With all the buzz and focus in our industry on the topic of Candidate Experience, we’ve overlooked how important Candidate Behaviour is. Because of the major talent shortage in most industries today, candidates don’t need to work as hard to get multiple job offers which has lead to complacency in interview behaviour. As a recruiter I’ve noticed that candidates are becoming lazier in their job search and Candidate Behaviour is trending down.

Key Considerations

Recruiter relationship: Even though they’re not the hiring manager, don’t underestimate the importance of building a good relationship with the recruiter because they have a lot more influence in decision making than you may think.

Engagement: do all that you can to ensure that you are viewed as a highly engaged and interested candidate. Remember to be consistently responsive because ‘radio silence’ from a candidate is interpreted as a red flag which creates an almost irreversible negative ‘gut feeling’ to a recruiter

Communication: All forms of your communication will be judged throughout every interaction of the interview process including all emails, texts, phone conversations, and interviews. Proofread, be polite, professional and don’t use slang or emoticons.

Timeliness: Turning up to the interview on time isn’t the only important ‘deadline’ that a candidate needs to meet. Make sure you interact quickly and consistently with your recruiter at every touch point as this plays a major factor in how your level of engagement is perceived.

Consistency: inconsistent interaction is a major red flag for a candidate, especially to the seasoned recruiters who are particularly sensitive to this. During the interview process make sure that you check your email, texts, messages and phone regularly so that you don’t miss responding to important messages from the recruiter.

Thank you letters: Some hiring managers expect a post-interview thank you letter so play it safe and send one after every interview. Check out my blog post here on the do’s and don’ts of a post-interview thank you letter.

Attention to detail: Most job postings will advertise ‘attention to detail’ as a must-have. Make sure you read and listen to all the recruiter’s instructions carefully, and cross your t’s and dot your i’s before sending any written communication.

Negotiation: How you behave during the negotiation process is viewed as a huge indicator on how you’ll behave as an employee. Be realistic, be responsive, show respect, be timely, and show gratitude even if the offer is lower than you expected. Although it hasn’t happened often, I’ve rescinded a number of job offers because of the way a candidate behaved at the offer stage.

Summary:

Be aware that you’re being judged on a lot more than how you perform during the interviews. A candidate who behaves responsively, respectfully professionally, punctually, politely, and (last but not least) consistently throughout every touch point of the interview process will significantly increase their chance of being successful.

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CHEAT SHEET: 10 SMART QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES TO ASK IN AN INTERVIEW

CHEAT SHEET: 10 SMART QUESTIONS FOR CANDIDATES TO ASK IN AN INTERVIEW

interview tips

In a typical interview scenario, the last 10 – 15 minutes will be (or should be!) reserved for candidates to ‘turn the tables’ and put the interviewers in the ‘hot seat’.

As a candidate, one of the most critical questions you’ll be asked during an interview is “Do you have any questions for us?”. It gives you the chance to impress the interviewer with thoughtful and intelligent questions while clarifying and filling in gaps in your understanding of the role. Your response to this important question can make-or-break your success in an interview so I’ve prepared a cheat sheet to help you land your dreamjob.

In no particular order, here are 10 questions that candidates should be asking in an interview.

Note: you won’t have time to ask every question in this list, so choose the ones that are most relevant and haven’t already been covered during the interview

  1. What is not in the job posting that I should know about this role?

Career site  job postings are often short, incomplete, outdated or don’t tell the full story so this question can fill in the gaps and/or correct any inaccuracies.

  1. What do you love about working in this team, and why do you choose to work here?

This questions gives you authentic insight into the dynamics of the team and the broader company culture.

  1. If applicable: How has the new CFO/CEO/CIO/Leadership change impacted the team and how has the transition been?

This powerful question shows that you’ve done your research and may uncover some important factors to consider when assessing the opportunity.

  1. What are the some of the key short and long-term goals of the organization and how does this role impact them?

It’s good to know where the company is aiming to go, and what your impact (if any) will be to helping them get there.

  1. What are some of the key short-term and long-term challenges that I’ll face in this role?

People are generally motivated by challenge and, if answered authentically, the question will reveal a lot about the role and what you’ll need to do to be successful in it.

  1. What excites you about the future of this organisation?

An open-ended positive question that I love to answer. You’ll learn a lot about what your interviewer values and you’ll gain personal insight into the future of the organization.

  1. What does success look like in this role, and how will I be measured against it?

This question will help you to understand some of the key deliverables of the role and give you insight into how the interviewer defines success.

  1. How would you describe your management style?

As well as evaluating the position and company, it’s equally critical that you are also assessing whether you’ll work well with your boss.

  1. I read about (x) when researching your company, what is your take/opinion on it?

If you’ve uncovered something particularly interesting during your research on the company then this question will give you some good ‘insider’ and potentially revealing insight into the company’s current events.

  1. What does a typical day in this role look like?

This question will help you understand the day-to-day dynamics of the role so that you visualise what it will really be like if you get the job.

Conclusion

Don’t waste the opportunity to make and impression and gain a better understanding of the role by being unprepared when it’s your turn to ask the questions. Pick and choose relevant questions from my cheat sheet to help you land your dreamjob.

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MY TOP 12 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

MY TOP 12 INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

interview tips

K.I.S.S!

With thousands of books, articles, blogs and courses that discuss the science and art behind ‘perfect’ interview questions, it’s easy to get overwhelmed on this topic. Throughout the last 10 years in my career I’ve learned that you don’t need to over-complicate interview questions and I prefer to keep my questions fairly simple and straightforward – Keep It Simple Stupid (as my dad used to tell me!).

Below are my top 12 interview questions that I like to use to gain an accurate, broad, and multidimensional understanding of a candidate to ensure the best possible long-term match for a specific job opportunity.

Note: I wont ask all of these questions in the same single interview, some of them are better suited for an initial phone screen conversation, and some of them are better suited for conversation during the offer stage.

1) Why did you apply to this position?
A good open-ended question to start the conversation. It will usually reveal the candidate’s main motivators (very important!),their current situation, and will provide a good basis to launch a productive conversation.

2) Why are you a [ insert: developer / project manager / architect etc] ?
Another very open-ended question that candidates will interpret differently from one to the next (but that’s ok!). Hopefully they will talk about the passion for their craft, what they like about it, and discuss the path that brought them to where they are today.

3) If i was a magic genie and could create you your dream job, what would it be?
This is a great question if you can’t quite peg down what the candidate is a fit for, or if you’re having trouble identifying whether the role is a good fit for a candidate. This question can also help to accurately ‘pipeline’ a candidate for future roles.

4) What’s your understanding of this position?
A good level-setter. During an interview I like to ensure that the candidate has an accurate understanding of the role that they are interviewing for, and this question should reveal any discrepancies or misunderstandings. Once they’ve answered this question, I’ll usually ask the hiring manager to explain the role in their own words and to cover off any discrepancies that have been revealed.

5) What are some of your key strengths as they relate to this position?
Most candidates will have a premeditated response to this popular question so I like to take it one step further by asking them to relate their strengths to the specific role they are interviewing for.

6) What do you love/hate about your current job?
This question can reveal a lot about the candidate’s personality, likes and dislikes and will help you to assess whether the role is really going to be an enjoyable and long-term fit for them.

7) What do you like to do for fun in your spare time?
It’s important to gain a complete understanding of the candidate and that includes their personality and interests outside of a professional work environment. This will help with culture fit assessment and will usually reveal interesting facts about a candidate that will keep the tone of the interview light and conversational.

8)Tell me about your long-term careers goals and how you feel this position fits into them.
Evaluating long-term fit is critical and this question will help you do this. I like to hear how the candidate feels about the long term fit, while I’ll also be making my own assessment.

9) Tell me about a single [project / task / event / product ] that you were involved in from start to finish that that you’re particularly proud of.
Taking a page out of Lou Adler’s book, this is a fantastic question that will reveal a lot about the candidate, and will create many opportunities for follow-up probing questions and conversations.

10) Tell me about your favourite manager and what about them made them so great?
Recruiters also need to evaluate whether the candidate is a good fit for the management style and personality of the hiring manager. This question will give you insight into this area and will help you make comparisons to evaluate a good overall team fit.

11) What concerns do you have about this opportunity?
This questions allows you to uncover, discuss and overcome any ‘red flags’ that the candidate could have about the role. It can also reveal any discrepancies or misunderstandings that the candidate may have. The quicker you can identify these, the more time you will have to overcome their objections and clear up any misunderstandings.

12) Compensation aside, why do you want this job?
Another page out of Lou Adler’s book, I’ll often ask this question during the offer stage to reduce the focus on salary and remind the candidate of the non-monetary reasons of why they should accept the position.

Conclusion

Asking good interview questions doesn’t need to be complicated or fancy. By keeping it simple and asking intelligent open-ended questions at the right time, a recruiter can easily gain a deep and broad understanding of a candidate to be able to make insightful and accurate assessments of their long term fit in a position and within an organisation.

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