Finding a candidate who will lead - Part 3

Joris Knulst
July 31, 2020

Finding a candidate who will lead

The first stages of the recruitment process are key for success down the line but the stakes are high; let the wrong candidates through and you’re wasting the hiring manager’s and your own time, turn down some hidden gems and you’re missing a world of opportunity. Intake interviews serve the purpose of preselection, validating whether behind an interesting CV there is an interesting candidate. This is usually done by phone, but frankly, the era of the phone call is over when the younger generation avoids them like the plague. It doesn’t help that they sap the time of the recruiter like nothing else so it’s a lose-lose. Digitising your process is the answer but they’re only as good as your approach. 

So how do you avoid a time-consuming conversation with an unqualified candidate that doesn’t tell you much more than the CV? In this series we will discuss different overlooked personality traits and how to qualify them with questions that lead to examples and honest self-reflection while not taking up more time than your run-of-the-mill standard set. Don’t wait to get to know your candidate and their potential until you get to meet them live,  get a solid idea of what makes them tick early on in your process by asking the unexpected questions that dig deeper. 

For the first undervalued and misunderstood quality that applies to all hires, here is leadership.

How do you verify if a candidate is truly empathetic 

As a recruiter, you might not be focusing on the leadership qualities from the get-go but snagging a candidate with the potential to lead can be a great long term investment. The problem is those attributes can be difficult to identify in the short period of time a recruiter has for interviewing candidates, and even more so if the communication is not live and you can’t follow-up the answers. When coming up with questions that yield insightful answers is the challenge, the way to go is to understand what you’re looking for and why. 

In an interview scenario, it starts with leading by example.

Predicting and managing emotions within the team is impossible without this obvious but elusive trait. Empathetic team members and leaders make for a motivating work environment and pay off when it comes to retention.

It is true that it takes just one newbie that doesn’t play nice with the team to present a serious challenge to the team dynamic  But to eke out the hires that truly possess this characteristic, the focus has to be on understanding whether they see empathy as a means to an end (which is unsustainable and a little Machiavellian) or caring for others is inherent in their every interaction. As long as that goodwill is there, the means to express it can be built up on a team level. In an interview scenario, it starts with leading by example. If you ask about their own emotional journey when it comes to work, you will be able to gauge their openness in regards to others. Some handy questions to bring out the candidate’s approach to empathy include: 

  • Tell me about a success/failure at work, how did it make you feel?
  • Have you ever had a negative impact on someone? Please provide an example.  
  • How would you deliver news of failure to your team?

A great follow-up can include asking to what extent they’ve had the chance to exercise empathy in a workplace as a mentor, manager, or even just as a buddy but for the time being, make your questions concrete to save time. 

Try out your perfect question set with Audio Intakes and discover the right candidate without any form of live communication! 

Don't forget to check out our other blogpost in this series about "Finding a candidate who will lead":

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