I had an interesting conversation with one of the team this morning about a case he’s working on.
The consultant in question is working with a client who as a former candidate is one of the most talented and exciting salespeople I’ve ever worked with. Armed with a brilliant mind and razor-sharp wit, he’s currently operating as a sales director, and I’m pleased to see that he has come back to us as a client.
During the review, we’re wondering what could go wrong with the prospective placement, and I came to the conclusion that the biggest challenge to the success of our candidate in his bid to get the job is the overwhelming talent of the client.
Not because he is a brilliant interviewer. Not because he’ll “suss” the candidate out, but because there aren’t many salespeople as good as he is out there.
Having read his brief for the second interview, it’s clear that it’s very complex and challenging. He wants the candidate to do a lot, and my worry is that the candidate won’t measure up, even though actually I am 1000% confident that the candidate has the skills to do the job.
You see what I think will happen is that the client will compare the performance of the candidate in relation to the brief and to how he personally would approach the same brief. The reality is I can’t envisage that anyone would measure up to the way that our client would approach that task.
What the client really ought to be doing is comparing the candidate to the skills and competencies required to be successful in the position and mark and score the candidate in comparison to those requirements. If the client doesn’t do that he’s going to be looking forever, as he won’t meet anyone as good as himself and cost himself fortunes in lost opportunity cost whilst waiting for a mega-star to walk through the door.
Sometimes clients can be TOO smart. Smarter than the task at hand. Drunk at times on the power of hiring and firing and that’s an easy addiction.
It’s usually once a week where we’ll hear of a client asking a preposterous interview question or setting a brief for the second interview that has no bearing whatsoever on the skills and competencies needed for someone to perform successfully in the job.
These questions and interview briefs are usually more about the person asking and setting them than the person being asked. They are usually indicative of a weakness or fear in the game of the individual asking them. Equally sometimes they are born of a simple lack of experience in hiring people and sometimes the interview is unconscious of satiating a personal need to feel a bit important.
My advice to clients is to stick to the brief. If you’ve been through a top quality competency analysis (your recruiter or HR team should be able to do this with and for you) then all you have to do is stick to the key skills and competencies required.