One big learning for me while working in HR for 30 years, most of it in Leadership position, is that ‘People are the same everywhere’. Same emotions, insecurities, their dreams and their apprehensions are all the same !!
In my role as a CHRO across India, APAC, UAE and Africa, the process of Talent Acquisition was the same barring some local nuances and the cultural aspects that needed attention. Most important part that a good interviewer must do is to put the candidate at ease. The purpose of a good interview is to assess what the candidate CAN DO and is capable of. It is not to identify what he CAN NOT DO !!
As I worked my journey across sectors which spanned Manufacturing, Telecom, Hospitality, IT and Sales/ Distribution/ Retail and worked with many Function Heads and Hiring Manager I also gathered what is it that gets a candidate selected.
Attitude : Aptitude
At a glance the CV communicates the academic excellence and exposures acquired through internships and special projects. One can also decipher the technical skills from the narrative one sends through the Resume/ CV. Hence the primary objective of personal interview is to validate data through probing questions and may be small projects, tests to establish the ‘work’ related fitment.
What is more important for us to know is that through this entire process of Technical evaluation the Interviewer is also assessing you on the attitudinal aspects… your etiquettes, your physical presence, ability to handle questions which you could not answer and your overall demeanour. These are your soft skills. Critical for you is to remember that you cannot fake it. You have to be a great attitude person at the core for it to be seen. Which means you have to be a polite, humble, easy to get along person and high on integrity.
Let me narrate an interesting episode to establish this fact.
We were at a campus looking for candidates in multiple functions hence had a big panel. Multiple members to the panel makes the process take longer since you need to confer after every stage and make the right choice. The process comprised:
- Screening of CVs (this favoured highest scorers + others)
- Group Discussion
- Preliminary screening interview
- Final interview
Of the finalists, 2 candidates were also amongst the highest score holders. Unfortunately, they both were not selected by us. Do you know why ?
- The ‘Campus’ is a day long process and at times the TA team is not in a position to update the candidates after every stage, leading to anxiety and stress for some candidates. One of the student candidate turned abusive towards the junior coordinator of our team. Besides choosing wrong words he was also disrespectful. This corridor episode put a question mark on his candidature and eventually we made the offer to another candidate who happened to have a lesser academic score.
- Another candidate who we were almost closing the offer with made the cardinal mistake of showing arrogance. He mentioned that his Father is in a commanding position at our Base location and upon his joining Company could use his offices for help when needed. That was the end of our conversation.
Remember that the Organisations ‘Hire for Attitude and Train for Performance’.
Hence when you prepare yourself for an Interview, focus on who you are, your values, motivations and fears. Allow the interviewer to get to know you by highlighting your personal traits which will hold you in good stead. This ball is always in your court !
Technical assessment is the responsibility of the panel. You just have to be on top of every question that is posed.
- Be courteous and polite to everyone you interact with. Level, position, and financial status notwithstanding
- Be patient… remember everyone will get a chance
- Smile…. It does wonders to our personality
- Be respectful of others’ ideas, time and for just who they are
Even if your skill, knowledge and aptitude get you the job, it is your Attitude towards work and people around you will ensure your success. Hence any interviewer will equally focus on assessing your Attitude and Aptitude.