Personal Finance

How potential hires assess organisations

It’s a unique time for businesses and many are pressing the reset button.
It’s a unique time for businesses and many are pressing the reset button. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

It’s a unique time for businesses and many are pressing the reset button. Roles have been declared redundant, some employees have resigned to explore other opportunities and new roles have been identified for successful execution of the strategy.

These changes have triggered different processes and set the ball rolling to fill some critical vacant positions.

Human resources and business leaders have spent a significant amount of time understanding the vacant positions and identifying key traits and competencies that are required for new hires to be successful.

Time has been spent researching top talent in the industry, phone calls made, and headhunters requested to help identify talent within the shortest period of time.

It becomes puzzling, however, that despite these efforts and exploration of different avenues to attract the best talent, some positions remain unfilled for a very long time.


In many instances, this is not due to lacklustre execution on the part of the HR department as some business leaders may assume, but is a consequence of the assessment results of the organisation.

Almost every new senior hire will have carried out an assessment of the organisation before accepting the offer and signing on the dotted line.

Interview process

The assessment more often than not contains information on the good, the bad and the ugly, not only of the organisation in general but of the future line manager as well.

Organisations should, therefore, always remember that during the interview process, a two-way assessment is taking place.

Reference check stage is also a two-way process and the candidate will also be seeking information from reliable sources on the current work environment and quality of leadership in your organisation.

The default is for interviewers to always assume they have the upper hand only to be surprised later after the candidate they had closed on and were confident would be excited to join the organisation declines the offer or in some instances refuses to proceed with the rest of the interview process.

One of the reasons that could have your organisation red-flagged is if you have obnoxious panellists involved in the interview process.

Making someone feel small during the interview process by heavily critiquing their responses on the spot or constantly interrupting them is going to send a strong red flag to any candidate.

It also tells a story about the organisational culture and the quality of leadership that is tolerated and accepted in the organisation.

Poor etiquette during the interview process will also be a turn off.

Mediocre in execution

While this may seem trivial and you may argue that the level of unemployment is too high for this to matter, it is important to acknowledge that in many instances, any candidate you are interviewing has other interviews lined up and may even be at an advanced stage of the process with other organisations.

The fact that you keep asking the candidate to repeat their response because you were replying to a WhatsApp message or quickly responding to a question from your colleague on Skype will only make you appear disinterested in the process and mediocre in your execution.

Unhappy customer

It is also important to note that having multiple stages of the interview process may be a trendy selection approach but does not necessarily provide an indication of your rigour in the recruitment process. What it does is cause interview fatigue and give insights on the inefficient collaboration in your organisation.

Similar to how an unhappy customer will freely describe their terrible experience in great detail, individuals who have worked with toxic leaders are likely to be honest about their experience and warn others.

This background check information, which may come from former or current direct reports, peers or even suppliers is likely to influence the overlooked assessor’s decision to join your organisation.

It is, therefore, critical to be aware of the presence of potential assessors — those currently seated across from you during the interview process and those with whom your paths may cross in the future.

It would also be valuable to query the reason behind a candidate’s decision to decline your offer, especially for senior roles. The data may surprise you and give you some great insights.