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From the hiring managers point of view

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 4:39 pm
by PG
As a hiring manager what are you looking for in a candidate in addition to the hard skills required for the position. Have you ever chosen a candidate that may not have looked obvious to others and in that case what was the factors that made you make that choice?

Re: From the hiring managers point of view

PostPosted: Tue Nov 01, 2016 5:13 pm
by PG
One of my own examples of choice that was viewed as unexpected by several others including some of my collegues.

We needed to hire a project leader for a high profile project. The Project had an agressive timeline and was funded by a large influential funding organization. We knew from recent experiences that finding the perfect candidate wtih both industry experience as a project leader and the technical skills that we were looking for was going to be nearly impossible. The posted ad clearly stated that both the technical skills and experience from Project management was required in addition to various other requirements for personallity etc.

We ended up with the following options

1)academic scientists with very good technical skills and limited experience in leading Projects. Usually their experience in Project management came from leading PhD students and maybe coordinating smaller groups of students/postdocs

2) experienced project leaders without the technical skills that we believed was needed for the project.

3) internal candidates from other departments with the technical skills required but no experience from project management

4) at the time when I made my decision we had also received additional applications that did come in a bit late but at least one of these candidate looked promising and had some Project management experience as well as the technical skills required.

The expected choice from most people around me was to either go for option 2 due to the high profile in the project or potentially with option 4 ie continue to interview additional candidates. I instead made the decision to go for option 3 but added a senior support function to make up for the lack of experience in project management.

This decision was based on a few different observations. First that having experience also from our own technology and how the Company works in different ways is an advantage. Second that our internal candidate had a personallity that I believed was a good fit with what I was looking for. Third that creating an opportunity for the person taking the senior support role was a possibility to stimulate development in the person that got this task. Even without the internal experience as an additional advantage I currently think that I would ahve made the same choice although in that case my knowledge about the candidate would have needed to come from a networking effort.

Re: From the hiring managers point of view

PostPosted: Wed Nov 02, 2016 3:42 am
by D.X.
PG wrote:As a hiring manager what are you looking for in a candidate in addition to the hard skills required for the position. Have you ever chosen a candidate that may not have looked obvious to others and in that case what was the factors that made you make that choice?

For me its overall demeanor (outward behavior) of the Person which is linked to a few items such as Team fit, ability to establish personal Rapport (i.e. communicate well, harmonize well with others), and thus influence others, i.e. leadership competencies.

I am willing, and have traded, on hard skills. My more recent hire was someone who was exactly the above, lacking on the "exact' hard skills experience required for the Job, there were gaps. As PG noted its nearly impossible to find the complete superhero package and I'm not sure i want that - that may come with something I don't want...Ego and arrogance. The other issue is, if I bring in a superhero, then what's the development opporunity for them if they can already excute perfectly? There is a risk for dissastifaction with superheros.

For me, the demeanor of the Person trumped the technical skill/Expertise - it the techical hard skills that can be fixed. The soft ones..well, harder and takes time. With this new hire, I think she'll be wonderful.

The reality, is that, what has taken me ahead in my career, to be very blunt has not been my hard skills. Was it a leverage Point? sure and yes I did grow, but I'm no expert. My hard skills are not my priority levereage Point. Even with my experience and expertise, I have gaps. But what took me Forward and why People have hired me to do things where I had absolutely Zero experience, as mentioned post-hire by my Supervisors was my demeanor - they way I work with People, the way I can get them mobilized and establish crediblity, and fill my gaps by leveraging Expertise of others. And guess what? I delivered.

Had I been solely focused on my individual hard skills and used that as my only leverage Point, that would have shot me down i think.

What I have seen in my career looking a the Progression of others, (beyond me) substantiates that, most whom i've seen Progress have not been the ones that aim to become a complete subject matter Gurus - but those who have that demeanor and good Rapport. As a tangible and palable view in to their behavior, the are often fantastic presentors/Workshop faciliators, they know to run a Meeting, delegate without authority, they in General have "presense" in the room, often they are, at least to me, inspirational, Job wise. Often when you walk out of that Meeting with them, you have your marching orders and know what to do and why you are doing it. So I saw that early in my career and I do spend time on living those aspectes as I deliver my career. And I know this has been raise in the Forum before, but let me be clear on introvertism vs. has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with this. Both can be great leaders and movers of People - those Terms only relate to where People find their energy.

I now take similar view on whom I hire and bring into my Team.

A note regarding internal experience, in somecases there are key Advantages here as PG noted, i.e. established Network, knows the Company and now it works. On the other Hand, I would not let that bar anyone from applying for a role if one knows there is an internal candidate. Sometimes, fresh air is needed and a different view, sometimes internal candidates can be limited by organizational behavior and at times a Change Agent or one who can bring a different view can be a competitive Advantage, as was often the case with me when I was hired as an external candidate. The reality is that as one Progresses in career, assume there will always be internal competitors, they are not always more competitive as often the perception is.


Re: From the hiring managers point of view

PostPosted: Thu Nov 03, 2016 4:23 pm
by Andrew
I look for excellence because excellence is always transferable. I once hired an National's level ice skater that had some lab training and a college degree. I saw an ability to commit to something and become among the best in the country at it. How could someone like that not be a successful employee?