It is often said that the only permanent thing in this world is the change.
Most of the corporate managers have been following basic but time-tested interview techniques to check the suitability of the candidate as per their requirements. More often than not, this comprises of questions & answers covering the education & professional training received; span of work experience; family background etc.
However, this approach has its own limitations. For example, the recruiter may have shortlisted 4-5 apparently good candidates on the basis of particulars in their resumes. All the candidates may have same qualifications, almost same number of years of experience and could be from the same industry. Given such a situation, the recruiter’s job becomes very difficult if he uses traditional interview techniques.
Recently, one of our clients in the Chemicals Industry was looking for a suitable candidate to fill in the slot of “Head Manufacturing”. It was a senior most position reporting to the MD and reported by 3 Plant Heads. As per the specifications given to us, we suggested 4 suitable candidates to the client. The MD met all the four and yet could not take the decision as to who would be the right candidate. It was going to be an important commitment by him to the selected individual and to the organization on behalf of the new incumbent.
I suggested that we call all the candidates again for an interview. This time, the interview process was made more informal yet it coveredfour aspects :
»Level of awareness with regard to the field of specialization Certain basic but pertinent questions relating to the field of Chemical Engineering were put to the candidates and it was shocking that 2 of them simply could not give any answer because of poor recall and lack of interest to remain in touch with the subject. Fortunately, one of them was able to give very satisfactory replies.
» Level of general awareness
Each candidate was asked about basic things like ROI, Inventory Re-order level, fire safety etc. Again 3 of them could not give very satisfactory responses.
»Parity with regard to the size of operations of the client and the organizations where the each candidate is working now.
Incase the size of current employer organization is too small or too big then it may be difficult for the individual to adjust to the new size of operations.
» Body Language and Attitude
When asked about the reason for looking for a change, one of them replied that it was for a better salary, while the answer of the second candidate was a few murmurs only, which we could not follow at all. In the case of the third candidate, it was a clear case of coming back to India after serving in Africa for six years. The fourth candidate told us that he is not getting along well with his boss.
During the interviews, a careful observation was made of the body language such as hand gestures, sitting posture, eye contact, voice modulation and general dress up. A lot of information could be gathered about the nature of the person, frame of mind and other personality traits. For example, we asked each candidate a common question that what were the reasons, which retarded his faster career growth. One of them criticized almost everybody whom he knew or did not know in life. Another candidate thought that because of fast changes brought about by IT, there is no more scope for growth in Chemical Industry. While third candidate felt that he is extremely satisfied with his progress and he had no complaint whatsoever.
By assessing each candidate under these carefully thought over criterion, we were able to form a common opinion of the extent of the suitability of the candidates. It was in terms of (i) adaptability to the given size of operations (ii) perform and deliver results in the specialized field (iii) leadership and managerial qualities to head the department and (iv) interact favorably with other department heads and become an asset as the member of the top management team.