The Right Candidate

Reading a blog I follow: David J. Anderson [Where’s the Lemon ?], got me thinking more about businesses choosing the right candidate for a particular role, and an experience I had with a Japanese gentleman once on a plane.

Within the Western society, it is the norm to go through the sifting process and hopefully end up still floating when HR finishes washing their lists, to make sure that the ‘key words’ that they were after, are actually on your resume.

Now that you’re up to stage two, you tend to go through several more:

  1. Meet HR - have them toy with you and get a feel for you.
  2. Technical Test - if you’re going for a programming role, you’ll once again be sifted until they make sure you know what OO is, and where you put a tilde to form your destructor.
  3. Group Excercise Now that you’ve passed the previous stage with flying colours, you’re invited back into a group formation where you can be studied like a primateassessed on your thinking ability, general knowledge, communication,argument structuring, confidence, presentation skills as well as creativity” (Lifted from Accenture Recruitment Guide)
  4. Meet the manager At this point, as far as HR is concerned, you’re as good as hired, since not many people make it to this stage - and the only reason you wouldn’t pass is primarily due to your lack of personality . Here you are evaluated on your ability to actually ‘fit in’. —

With this “fool-proof” system, every company still ends up with a multitude of useless workers that merely are able to meet the basic requirements, pass the aptitude test and now be a leech on the system. Chances are - it will cost the company more to support this worker that it would have been to spend more time to find the right candidate in the first place, especially considering the inflexibility of labour evidenced by the plethora of unfair dismissal lawsuits.

So back to the Japanese gentleman I sat next to on my flight to Frankfurt a few years ago. He informed me that the company he worked for, had an unwritten policy that if they’re going to be spending over ¥10 million JPY - then the hiring manage must conduct a careful analysis of the person, which in this case meant - take them to a golf course for the day!

Wow, a whole day of playing golf and relaxing.. Well, not exactly. As through the day the manager is able to see your traits that you would normally leave out of an interview, such as how competitive you are, and how you actually deal with stress and your diplomatic ability.

These subtle hints which will provide the employer with a clearer image of the real person, is far more useful than a two hour psychometric test, that after 30 minutes you are just clicking on anything just to finish!

A day long interview - does it cost too much? Well if you want to employ someone for a few years at the least, and they are not there to clean the toilet or make a cup of crap coffee, then you simply can’t afford not to spend the time.