We know that in this changing world of work, the way that we do things, and the processes that follow are being forced to adapt to this way of working. And when we look at organisations and the way that they manage their talent pool specifically – there’s one key process that is also being forced to adapt and that’s the Candidate Interview. So – whether you’re sitting on the side of the table giving the interview, or whether you’re sitting on the opposite side of the table being interviewed, in an independent consulting world, the way that you prepare and conduct that interview, requires new insight and new approaches and most of all new practice.
We discussed the changing nature of the interview process with Talmix’s Head of Talent Oliver Luscombe and Independent Consultant Yogesh Gupta.
What do buyers of services typically look for in an interview?
A candidate needs to be able to demonstrate credibility; and it all starts with their CV. A CV and cover letter needs to be easy to read and information, and needs to highlight their personal achievements throughout their career. In particular, clients want to be able to see how a candidate has contributed to the bottom line for the organisations they have worked with. Many people discredit a solid CV and the doors it opens – but a tailored has the ability to open endless opportunity for an independent consultant’s career. It’s your first chance to speak the language of the potential employer. It allows you to immediately stand out as professional and connects your suitability to their organisation.
Clients look for connections and similarities – the more you have, the less of a risk they feel that they’re taking. They look for people you both might know, what comparable environments you have worked in – and how you would be able to contribute to their organisation quickly, and with minimum risk.
Tailoring your CV and cover letter is critical to promoting your candidacy for a particular role. For independent consultants, every project is different. For many consultants, they may be great at delivery. For others, they may be great at providing insight. But what most clients want is an independent consultant who is able to demonstrate the qualities of both aspects. They want to know that whoever they hire, they have the expertise, but they also know how to deploy their knowledge into workable solutions that yield results.
How have perceptions changed in hiring independent, as opposed to permanent talent?
Perceptions have changed in a big way thanks to new access to technology and social tools – access to good talent is fast and informative. A huge change in the development of perceptions around talent and workforces can be seen since the financial crash in 2008 / 2009. Businesses are having to be far more conservative when it comes to headcount costs and are being held far more accountable to demonstrating performance and increased efficiency from, in most cases, their reduced teams. So, this increased pressure has driven up the value of unique skill and experience, which, in turn, has driven up the Freelancer and Independent markets too. This new cycle of access to talent means that organisations are becoming more flexible and agile allowing a swift change of direction if required, to meet their own client demands.
What new assessment tools are being used in the search for independent talent?
Some of the latest assessment tools that are being used during the candidate interview process is focussed on the On-Demand, and core to that is the way that video technology has been used more and more throughout the interviewing process. It’s reflective on the current, fast-paced way in which we live our lives. Businesses like the idea of not having to make allowance for visits to the the office – and candidates are able to be interviewed when it suits them – regardless of location. The focus on the right skill is becoming topical and with the increased use of assessment tools like psychometric, aptitude and reasoning tests as well as case study or simulation-based interviews are now able to assess a candidate’s approach and qualities against a defined role with relevant skill sets. This new way of interviewing and approach to talent acquisition may even see the replacement of the traditional qualification-based record that deems suitability for a particular role.
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