Some learnings from an interviewing process

By Giovanna Combatti
An Interviewing process offers a wonderful chance for “opening a window” on the dynamics around a specific function on the market labor in that particular period. At the same time,  through the candidates eyes, the recruiter can “see” some major organizational aspects around that function, that the company needs to consider when hiring a new guy in that role.
What follows is an example of issues and aspects a recruiter could take out, carrying on a recruiting process. This particular case refers to a Financial Controller recruiting for the small size italian manufacturing site of an international group.
One of the main aspects dividing into two categories the interviewed candidates for this position, refers to their experience and “closeness” to manufacturing or sales costs. It resulted evident that those who had an exposure to manufacturing processes, to lead times, stock evaluation, structure and standard costs, did offer the first preference for accomplishing what this specific function demands in that company environment.
The second main aspect that had a great impact on the first step of that recruiting process, has to do with the organizational context where the candidates could learn and grow. The candidates who seemed “closer” to meet company expectations for this position were those who could grow up in a structured environment, where the Controlling function had a real business, managerial or even “consultative” style, partnering with different managers and divisions. And besides that, another important factor was the exposure the candidate could have to an international environment, where the company controller needs to share information and identify ways for working across different countries and cultures for reaching common goals.
On the other side, controller grown up in smaller or more “just local” companies tend to be more devoted to the administrative part of the job, more focused on controlling the past rather than helping to shape the company future by identifying the issues and the proper measures to make an impact on the profitability side.
So one thing that needed to be considered and discussed in the next interviewing steps meeting with the candidates, is the company “dimensional” factor. Candidates who grew up in bigger structured organizations tend to assign great importance to role definition, to clearly defined responsibilities, to the opportunity of interacting with a number of people and functions. And first of all they will look to opportunities for growing that sometimes have to do with dealing with more complex or just new issues, with the opportunity the company gives them to learn, train and deepen their technical knowledge or sometimes with helping growing people or getting closer and closer to the business strategy.
Another aspect that of course has a great impact on the selective part of that process has to do with the candidates personality, where the recruiter “sorts out” the candidates with traits that could fit better with that specific environment. So the recruiter explores the relationship style, how outgoing and assertive they are, what sense of direction and self confidence they show, how much they can impact others, what  influencing skills they show, how effective they have proven to be, dealing with their co-workers as individual and with their work team, how skilled they are at involving others and motivate them, how did they respect diversity and can adjust their communication to diverse groups of people.
The other main explored area with the candidates refers to motivation: how they learn and what they want to learn, how and where they see themselves growing, what was their greater success and how they obtained it. Further questions asked to explore this side were related to the reason why they want to change company, what they are looking for, what they would not accept at all and all what has to do with candidate actual boss, what kind of managerial style his/her manager has, why he/she appreciates the candidate, where would he/she want the candidate to do more or just in a different way. This last exploration area aims to gather information about the kind of managerial style/context the candidate is most comfortable with and is looking for. And at the same time this area often reveals more about the real reasons why the candidate wants to leave his/her company.