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6 Tips About How To Source Passive Candidates

If you are a recruiter or works in the staffing industry, I’m sure you know that passive candidates are usually the best candidates. But passive recruiting is often easier said than done. You’ll have[...]

November 13, 2018

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Interview Tactics for Assessing Cultural Fit

The competition to attract and retain exceptional workers remains fierce. Very fierce. Job openings pile up and go unfilled. Employers are desperately seeking skilled candidates who will integrate well with the mission and the team. And the needs of today’s talent, particularly those in millennial generations, have taken more nuanced turns. Cultural fit, Forbes recently emphasized, has become even more important in the modern age.

For independent recruiters, the process of sourcing and interviewing prospects has reached new levels of complexity. What questions should you ask? How can you really judge attitude and aptitude? While labor regulations make it clear that we can’t get too personal in our inquiries, there is one bygone line of questioning we may consider reviving -- asking talent about their interests beyond the office. When recruiting for cultural fit, here are some aspects we can focus on safely.

Inherent Leadership Attributes

Outside the office, many working adults belong to community associations or leisure-based groups. For example, you may discover that your candidate heads the local Parent Teachers Association (PTA), homeowner’s association (HOA), neighborhood watch or girl scout troop. Or perhaps the applicant hosts a writing club or fund-raising effort for medical research. In any of these or similar situations, independent recruiters gain a sharp perspective into a candidate’s leadership skills. For positions that require strong management abilities, a person’s interests can serve as fantastic indicators of potential success.

Independence and Team Spirit

The activities that people engage in tell us a great deal about how they work in relation to colleagues or the absence of teams. An avid soccer fan who plays on an after-hours league demonstrates his or her commitment to a group. As companies transition to a more project-based approach toward work, a person’s success in contributing to cross-functional corporate teams is imperative. The same would apply to a professional who volunteers in her spare time. Her ability to organize a charity and achieve its goals would help recruiters predict her level of interaction with customers and participation with peers.

For a job that requires more individualized work, under minimal supervision, extramural activities tell the same story. An individual who enjoys carpentry as a hobby would likely possess these critical traits -- he understands how to plan a project, work autonomously, budget time and materials, execute and deliver a finished good.

Passion and Ongoing Development

The activities that appeal to people are as diverse as people themselves. Some of us follow artistic pursuits: painting, music, creative writing, knitting and others. Some of us play sports or build cars or skydive. Each hobby a recruiter uncovers should convey key information about the candidate. An individual who writes as a hobby exemplifies a worker who would likely excel at communication and research. A candidate who paints in his or her spare time may be a perfect fit for a marketing position, so long as the core vocational skills match.

Regardless of the pastime, activities reveal other important characteristics about our talent. They let us know that the candidates we’re speaking with are passionate, can dedicate themselves to completing milestones and deliverables, constantly practice to refine their skills, set goals and find ways to enjoy work. Somebody with several different hobbies would also provide an excellent example of a person who can manage multiple tasks on the job.

Living and Working in Three Dimensions

The best employers realize that workaholics and robots-in-the-flesh seldom evolve or become ideal talent. Any business and any position comes with nuances. There are always countless moving parts, innovations, shifts in direction and new roles to occupy. A worker without balance may not be able to transition into leadership, develop a fresh set of skills or tackle new projects.

A person invested in activities beyond the business is well rounded. That often means he or she is a repository of information, insight and perspective. These people are the thought leaders of the future. They are the workers who take calculated risks, experiment, suggest improvements and have a better understanding of their world -- along with the needs of customers who share that world.

Outside Interests Can Become Inside Strengths

Independent recruiters know all the ins and outs of acing interviews. They have a prime opportunity to coach and prepare talent for presenting their personal brands in the most compelling ways. Learning more about your candidates’ interests won’t just help you engage them or solidify the relationship -- it will empower you to match the very best people to the perfect business culture. And that produces results for your clients, your talent and you.

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