Hiring! Look beyond

Hiring the right people for the team is of paramount importance for the success of projects.

Over years, I learned to pay attention to several aspects for a successful recruitment. Many are common sense, which sometimes is overshadowed by the formality of the process.

Attitude: a candidate was recorded as saying at a job interview that she is not interested in the job, but will accept it because she was unemployed for the past six months. Would you consider such a candidate? My answer is No. She got the job. Her attitude, which she to her credit showed at the interview, impacted her performance. When she learned about an upcoming audit, she resigned. The audit revealed why.

Transferable skills: a competition for an expert in customs procedures; three candidates to be interviewed. Two have prior customs related experience. The supervisor, the successful candidate is going to work with, turned increasingly uncomfortable as the interview unfolded. The reason: attitudes exhibited, arrogance and “know it all outlook” on everything and everyone by the first two candidates. The third candidate had none of the customs experience, but a good academic record from a reputable University with world wide credentials, good analytical skills and legal research skills. She was soft spoken, tuned to the audience and  very considerate. She appeared to fit well within the beneficiary’s set up. The choice was clear to me and to her immediate future supervisor. It was not that obvious however to other members of the interview panel, who adhered to “does the candidate respond to advertised job requirements”, which, as we know it, tend to be pretty standardized.  The third candidate got the job. And she was successful in her job and a good addition to the team.  photo-31

Body language: a competition for a project assistant. Five short listed candidates. My colleagues are keen on technical qualifications.

Yes, they type;

yes, they have basic procurement  procedures knowledge;

yes, they can organise an event,

yes, they seem to give the right answers.

Yet, there is always more to it than meets the eye. The way they dressed for the interview, their body language, their reaction to more inquisitive questions, their consideration or lack of it to the members of the questions, their reaction to the appreciation given at the interview. Last but not least, the match between the verbal and non-verbal communication, an insight into their motivation you get from their body language. For example, when you praise the body language control of a candidate he/she may give it up or, to the contrary, increase self-control. Or for example, would you select a candidate who is relaxed, laying back, hands under the table at the beginning of the interview and pretty much throughout the interview or a candidate shoulders up, hands clenched on the table and, as the interview unfolds, relaxing shoulders, using freely his/her hands to amplify the conviction put into words?

Look beyond and within, I aspire to remind myself.

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