When there is intense competition for the available jobs it is no surprise that job seekers are advised to make sure every aspect of their professional and personal presentation and interview preparation is as perfect as possible.
It also makes it possible for recruiters to be highly selective and define extremely precisely the skills and qualities required of the person they will eventually appoint.
Paradoxically this could be making the whole recruitment process lengthier and more complex and costly than it needs to be and it could also be that the employer is storing up further problems for later.
Suppose, for example, that one attribute on the recruiter's wish list is a creative problem solver. It would be logical at interview to ask candidates for examples of problems they have been confronted with and successfully solved. The answers may confirm that the employer has found the person they want.
It may, however, eventually turn out to have been a strategy that was counter-productive. A confident person with evidence of their ability to solve problems may prove to be more opinionated and less open to alternative suggestions or to having the adaptability and people skills to be able to fit into a particular corporate culture.
A job seeker who has perhaps a slightly less stellar CV and cannot demonstrate a lengthy track record of brilliant creative problem solving may be aware of their weaknesses and therefore be more open to learning new ways of doing things and more anxious to adapt themselves to the environment they find themselves in.
This depends on the confidence of the employer/recruiter in assessing whether to take a slight risk that the person may be worth taking on because they are open to learning and developing once given the chance even if they are perhaps not going to be someone who can perform to peak perfection from day one.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates has been quoted as saying that success is a poor teacher.
It could be more informative to ask the candidate for examples of where they had been unable to find a solution to a particular problem. The answer could reveal more about the person's qualities than the opposite question would offer.
A too detailed wish list of the qualities required for a particular vacancy and a determination by recruitment agencies or potential employers not to compromise can risk lengthening the recruitment time and therefore the cost to the company significantly.
It also risks losing out on someone who might prove when given the chance to be an asset to the business in the way that the brilliant, successful high flyer may not. The latter may only stay a short time before moving on. The former might stay for longer and grow with the company.
Writer Ali Withers asks whether it is possible for a recruitment agency or employer be about the list of qualities it wants from job seekers for a particular vacancy. http://www.rmsrecruitment.com
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