To Get the Right Info from A Job Candidate, You Have to Ask the Right Questions

Bob CavotoCEO, 20/20 Foresight
Executive Search Blog – June 2017

It’s no secret that the only way to really get to know a candidate is to talk with them in person during an interview. That’s not news. But knowing what to ask during that conversation is a different story. There are a variety of interview techniques, each designed to get at a certain kind of information or gauge a candidate’s fit for the role. A corporate executive needs to stay fresh in their approach to interviewing candidates to lead conversations that are engaging and productive. After creating a detailed description of the role you’re looking to fill and getting to a short list of applicants, it’s time to talk. The following is a brief summary of interview techniques that an experienced search firm can help you learn and incorporate into your next candidate conversation/interview:

• The Gateway interview gets at why the applicant wants to transition into a new role, giving insight into priorities, motivators and expectations. Most importantly, this interview examines why the candidate left their jobs and/or why they want to leave their current job. The candidate’s answer should be reasonable and believable. It’s OK if the candidate mildly criticizes current or past employers, and if they do, a good interviewer should inquire further for details. A company representative should find out what makes that candidate tick and what their compensation target is.

• The goal of the Personality interview is to develop a profile of who this person is and how they relate to others. The candidate should be asked to describe what they find rewarding in their career, their management style, and how they make complex decisions or resolve conflicts. Other questions should include who they admire and a description of who they thought were their best bosses and why. Also included should be discussions of how much they work and how they are organized.

• While somewhat self-explanatory, the Resume interview aims to get beyond the bullet point basics and have the candidate explain their career progression by having them highlight jobs and accomplishments in greater detail. Simply take the candidate’s resume and ask specific questions about items listed on the resume. It’s important to note and separate what the candidate accomplished individually versus what their team achieved with each job.

• A Technical interview can be where the rubber meets the proverbial road. Sure, you may like the person, but can they do the job? Take a technical approach to the job whereby the candidate explains simple and sometimes complex issues, like discounted cash flow analysis, buy/sell/hold analysis, defines cap rates, tells what cap rates are in certain cities, and defines the various approaches to calculating IRR.

• The Topgrading interview or business situational interview requires the most endurance and is generally a one- or two-hour exercise. Usually not an initial interview, the goal of this approach is to find someone who can perform at the highest levels of your organization. In this setting, the company describes three or four real problems within the company and with this position, and then asks the candidate to suggest approaches and solutions. This technique is usually performed when the candidate pool is down to a short list of finalist candidates. This technique is very revealing as to who should be the final candidate.

Don’t forget that this isn’t the first rodeo for your job candidates. Mid-to senior-level job seekers have been through the interview process before and are likely to evaluate your company based on how you evaluate and interview them.

20/20 Foresight Executive Search is experienced in these techniques and can help your executives become more effective in interviews to find the best possible candidates. For more information on U.S. and international executive search services, contact 20/20 Foresight at www.2020-4.com or 708-246-2100.

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20/20 Foresight Executive Search Named Top Recruiting Firm

We’re honored to be named to the list of top recruiting firms by Hunt Scanlon Media. Since 1994, we’ve worked to become the best in the industry. And today, with more than 1,500 successfully completed searches to our name, we’re proud that work has paid off.

With a history of providing companies with resources and data to help choose a recruiting firm, Hunt Scanlon is the leading executive search industry trade & market research network. Their list includes only the best in the industry.

“It’s an honor to be named to a list like this,” said Bob Cavoto, Managing Principal of 20/20 Foresight Executive Search. “And it’s certainly well deserved. We’ve honed our process over the last 20 years. Our people work hard, they really get to know the clients and their needs, and they have access to our proprietary database that’s the industry’s biggest. And we hold ourselves accountable. I think that puts us at the top of the list.”

Our unique, hybrid retainer approach also sets us apart. We put our clients’ needs first, and our search agreement reflects that. There’s a small fee upfront, but the remainder isn’t due until the right candidate is found and the search is successfully completed. That’s the kind of commitment to the client you don’t see with other firms.

We have more than 50 consultants on staff and offices across the country, giving us a global reach with a regional perspective. Our consultants average more than 20 years’ combined experience in executive search and in the real estate, financial services and service industries. We understand your business and your needs like other recruiters can’t.

If you’re looking for an executive search firm that can understand your needs better than any other, give us a call. We’d love to put our experience to work for you.