Finding a candidate who will lead - Part 4

Arina Gerdyush
October 22, 2021

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 to elevate the question of learning from mistakes

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. 

It is more interesting to ask questions that lead to more insightful reflection.

This is a classic interview tactic and yet it can always be taken further. An important tip is to never stop at one example. The first one would’ve been carefully chosen by the candidate, the second and third meanwhile are much more revealing. If the candidate can figure out what they did wrong and why, take ownership and is open and able to show their best and their worst, you can expect honest self-reflection going forward. There’s much to learn from mistakes with the right attitude!

A clear red flag here is then if they start to point fingers at others instead, then you can bet there is more to the story that they’re letting on. Likewise a candidate trying to go for a humble brag is understandable but not exactly helpful to understand their tenacity in the face of missteps. It is a great opportunity to see their entire attitude to work, their ego and honesty and while a simple question suffices to give a snapshot, it is more interesting to ask questions that lead to more insightful reflection. Here are some example questions you can use to dig deeper from the get-go: 

- Tell me about an experiment initiative you tried at work, its outcome and what did it teach you? How did you apply this learning to another initiative?

- What is the most important lesson you’ve ever learned from your own mistake and/or someone else's? 

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": https://www.audiointakes.com/category/case-studies

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