Do you take a strategic approach to interviewing?

almost 9 years ago by Nicola Mackay
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​It is always interesting to observe how the theoretical world of management thinking collides with reality, which is a privilege I have given the nature of my role as a recruiter. There is a general feeling among some circles that the management tools that were built for a bygone age are no longer suitable for the modern business environment, and I’m inclined to agree. So, when I read Huw’s recent post I couldn’t help but wonder if this Why Should I Hire You?!’ approach to interviewing may also be held by those with a more traditional approach to business strategy… 

In permanent IT recruitment you should know that prospective employees are, and will continue to be, very selective about who they work for, as there’s no debating that they have the advantage of choice in today’s job market. In my experience, I tend to find that the majority of interviewees will want to quickly establish the company culture and values; the nature of the work; and whether they can make a real difference in their role (how they can add real value). These are all things high on their list of priorities. One individual I was speaking to about his career options said that he didn’t want to be ‘just another small cog in a big wheel’, and these factors shouldn’t be underestimated. Also, whilst it is more often not the main driver, salary is still an important element to ensuring a candidate ‘starts happy’ and is less likely to drop out as a result of this increased competition for talent in today’s environment. Ultimately the reward should be fair for the work being done.

Those of you who know me are aware that I do a bit of studying in my spare time and I’ve recently been scratching the surface of business strategy and the ‘Resource-Based View’ (RBV). At a very high level, it involves internal analysis and identification of resources available to you and how they can be blended to create capabilities as a source of advantage. In part, it considers what doesn’t appear on the balance-sheet and acknowledges that people are a critical attribute and can be a true source of advantage.

I’d have to admit, that whilst I am a real people person I’d have previously put myself in the ‘classical’ business theory camp, but this idea of the RBV has caught my attention in a big way. There is no hiding the fact that my role is commercial, so the resource based approach to business strategy, is not one that would have occurred naturally to me, but there’s a definite link here.

When you are interviewing do you consider the prospect as a resource/commodity, or, consider the advantage or efficiencies they could bring to your team when blended with the other resources you possess?

People really do want to know they will be able to make a difference once they join your company regardless of whether you are a small software house or global firm. As I mentioned earlier, people have choice on their side, and are more and more concerned with their working environment and how they can add value to the business. Whether or not the interviewee understands this is the difference between whether they start with you or a competitor.

So is it possible to apply some of the ‘RBV’ thinking as early as the interviewing process for the benefit of yourself, the organisation you work for and your new team member?

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