Posted by: kenwbudd | June 29, 2009

Recruiters and Interviews are getting Tougher and very Personal

Be aware! Employers and executive recruiters are asking some very tough and personal questions during job interviews.

They’re also putting prospective employees in social situations to test how well they interact with others. Par example, a hiring manager or recruiter might ask the candidate to talk about his or her parents.

The belief is that, having a candidate talk about their family can tell employers something about the candidate’s value system and work ethic.

These personal questions can blindside candidates, particularly those at the mid-management level. Everything is fair game because they can reveal how a prospective employee will handle surprises and difficult situations, as well as her ability to think on her feet.

Employers and recruiters are also taking executive-level candidates and their spouses out to dinner. While this isn’t new, employers are footing the dinner bill more often as a way to size up a candidate’s character: how the candidate treats wait staff, interacts with his spouse, and handles a social situation. Employers want to see a candidate who treats people with respect, and to get a feel for his or her ability to work a room at a corporate event.

In most organisations, entertaining at all levels is a critical part of the job. If a recruiter or potential employer wants to see how a potential manager will conduct himself in a social setting, one of the best ways to do that is to invite him or her along and see what happens.

Spouses, too, will often need to accompany their executive husband or wife at fancy dinners and events. Employers want to see a happy, healthy relationship. This may be difficult for executives in bad marriages, in such circumstances you may consider warming up a ‘substitute’ partner.

Remember that a candidate’s eating habits can reveal aspects of their personality and approach to problem solving. Salting your food before tasting it, can indicate impulsiveness or programmed mannerisms. A candidate will not get tossed out of contention simply because she seasons a meal before tasting it but if you start to accumulate a lot of negative points, it may cause concern.

Another technique recruiters are using to size up personality traits of candidates is the car ride to the restaurant, where the recruiter is the passenger and the candidate is the driver. A person’s driving can shed light on how they react to stressful situations, as well as their level of patience and aggressiveness.

Turning the Tables: Evaluating a Company’s Character
Just as dinners and car rides provide employers with opportunities to get to know candidates on a deeper level, the same goes for job seekers. They, too, can use these situations to learn about a company’s values, says Bare.

Candidates are able to do much more due diligence, to ensure that they’re identifying a company culture that will truly suit them. When a candidate looks at an organisation, they want to make sure they’re dealing with people who are ethical, rational and fair-minded.

Candidates can use unconventional job interviews to their advantage by coming prepared with questions that will help them zero in on the company’s long-term strategy, ethical standards and values.

The most important thing people can do these days to distinguish themselves from the rest of the candidates is to be better prepared. Know your audience and be prepared not only to talk about your own background and how it fits with the company but also to ask questions about the company.

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