Resist Temptation – Availability is NOT a Skill!
Every week in Ergo Resourcing, we speak to and interview many people who are looking to take the next step in their career.
We often ask candidates deliberately off topic questions to try to get behind their CV, get a sense of who they are, their strengths, and what they are looking for in their next job. A chat about current affairs, sport, politics or something from popular entertainment can often reveal more about the character of the person than 45 minutes talking about recent projects. Don’t get me wrong, skills assessment is very important. We do probe deeply into why certain projects were successful or challenged, and also into the specific role the person played on the assignment. We believe that the skills assessment should be balanced with some insight into the real person behind the CV. Some people are naturally more introverted than others. Some people are full of energy and like to bounce around being sociable. If we can understand the type of person the candidate is, it helps us match to the correct role.
Because people in a professional environment have differing value systems and differing needs, it is vital to understand how this will impact on the success of their role. A great recent example of this is the classic request from a stressed hiring manager “I need a project manager urgently”. It would be a massive mistake to respond immediately to this hiring manager with 5 fresh CVs from the PM pool…
“Availability is not a skill!”
It’s our job in this situation, to slow down the process, flesh out this ‘job spec’ into a detailed profile which will mean that we can select a candidate who will make an immediate impact when they arrive on the job.
So for this recent job opening we discovered that the person our client was looking for had to be a very strong process follower, someone close to detail but who would not try to push the project through at all costs. In this case, it was more important to track and report on risk rather than be a hero. We have several project managers on standby, surely one of these would be suitable?
As it turned out after briefly interviewing the available candidates we had, we quickly realised that none were suitable. On paper the CV and resumes were a good fit, but in speaking to the candidates we were able to see their personality types did not fit the overriding brief. One candidate in particular demonstrated an excellent ability to ‘get things done’ and to bring stakeholders together and keep the project on track. In this case, that type of approach would have been detrimental to our client. This candidate would also have ended up frustrated at the lack of flexibility, and the client project could have been put at some additional risk.
Thankfully, we had a happy ending, and we found a specific person well suited to the role by matching the client with an individual who had the necessary skills and experience, but also the right personality fit.
So, as a hiring manager, when you are looking to fill an urgent role, spare a thought when we ask lots of questions that might not seem directly related to the job at hand. It’s in your best interest and will help us identify the right person.
We will be looking to find candidates that have the right skills and the experience to meet the challenge, but also, crucially, with the right kind of personality for the job.