Beyond The Resume — Finding Hidden Treasure In Job Interviews

DiggingForGoldEvery candidate has golden nuggets in their past job performance that would make a potential employer sit up and take notice. The trick is to uncover that information during the limited time you have in an interview, and then find a way to share it with your client.

Great Interviews Lead To Deeper Understanding

If you’re able to review the details of the resume with your candidate by phone before you meet, you can save your time together for the really juicy conversation bits — like the challenges they undertook at each position, what got in the way and how they handled it, and what lessons they learned from each role that continue to serve them to this day. You probably have favourite questions you like to use in interviews. I’ve been collecting interview questions for years. Some of them came from recruiters I’ve worked with, others were shared by business people and clients.

Some interviewers don’t use questions; they find that keeping the meeting conversational while staying focused on understanding each situation the candidate brings up is the best way to take in their work ethic. Whichever method you use, the important thing is to move beyond what’s on the resume to understand the person’s approach to work and their unique contribution in each role.

What’s Their Special Story?

There’s a myth that only management candidates have worthy stories from the past; as if anything less than saving the company hundreds of thousands of dollars should be ignored. I don’t agree with that thinking. A forklift operator with an eye for safety probably has lots of stories to relate that would warm the heart of any warehouse manager. The department assistant who finds a way to get an important project completed even while she has to be off work for the flu has demonstrated a particular kind of effectiveness. A sales clerk who somehow finds a way to get everyone in the department talking to each other nicely is a catalyst for change and positive morale. All of those skills are priceless. That’s the kind of buried treasure that won’t show up on a resume, and it’s our job to find it.

Getting The Candidate’s Story In Front Of The Client

Now that you have the special stories that demonstrate your candidate’s real contribution, you’ve got to get your client’s ear. If you have a habit of submitting candidates through an email message, you might want to rethink that. There’s only one way to get your client to hear what you’ve learned about your star candidate; you have to talk to the client. Email looks like an efficient submission tool only when you don’t count the many hours you lose waiting for a response. Sometimes it feels like you’d get a quicker response if you put your sneakers on and walked 8 miles to the client’s office. Don’t send that email until you’ve had the chance to describe what excites you about this person.

If you’d like to brush up on your client management skills, read Greg Savage’s article entitled Two Killer Questions Great Recruiters Ask Every Time. It was first featured in the career management section for recruiters in 7 Blogs For 7 Days.

Happy recruiting!

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