- Created on Wednesday, 19 January 2011 05:00
- Written by Craig Lloyd
The management interview process creates a certain amount of anxiety for participants on both sides of the desk, especially if neither has done a lot of interviewing. In absence of a highly structured process it can serve both sides to remember the three Cs – credentials, chemistry and compensation.
C IS FOR CREDENTIALS
Credentials show up on a resume and in “laundryspeak” should enable the reader to review the facts. What was the mix of the plant in terms of linen, garments, etc, what was the volume processed and for operational positions the type of equipment. How many direct reports, what was the total workforce size and was there a union shop in place? Does the candidate list any accomplishments as part of their credentials?
As the candidate, if these basic questions are not answered on the resume then rewrite it or be prepared to answer the questions during a telephone screening conversation. Obviously the prospective employer is looking to see how close the plant environment matches up to theirs, but the more critical step is gauging how successful the candidate was in the day to day responsibilities. Success stories, awards and accomplishments – these are all part of the critical credentials.
Whatever is missing in the credentials piece represents a potential need for training and closer supervision. As the employer do you have the time and training budget available to support the new hire to get him / her up to speed? As the candidate are you embellishing your credentials in an effort to get the job offer when you might be setting yourself up for failure? Honesty on both sides will create reasonable expectations on both sides.
C IS FOR CHEMISTRY
Good chemistry can be driven by the candidate’s clear and sincere desire to work for the company. It is the perception that the candidate does not care about salary, a 401(k), medical or vacation benefits, instead the primary goal is to work for the prospective employer. Of course, saying “I want the job” really means “I want the job offer”. Once the employer feels the candidate wants to commit to a long term career with their company (and has suitable credentials) they will try to build chemistry with the candidate.
The risk of relying primarily on chemistry is what you see may not be what you get. Just as come candidates can hide character flaws in the interview process, some employers can also hide their personality defects. Employers can put systems in place – multiple interviews, reference checks and probation / termination to minimize ill-fated hires. However, when a new employee finds out his / her supervisor is a major micro manager or has a mood swings bordering on clinical bipolar syndrome, then the warm and engaging “chemistry” from the interview process begins to feel like a snow job. Many a candidate has resigned a former job and even relocated only to discover these traits in their new supervisor.
The candidate can create some safeguards by adding some interview steps. An out of town candidate should ask for an overnight stay so that they can meet their prospective supervisor a second time, ideally away from the plant (breakfast, lunch, etc). Ask about the history of the position, and the people who were previously in the position. Talk about management styles, and ask the employer what management style has served them best over the years. Ask if he / she has an “open door policy” for delicate issues. If the response shows openness then they are probably easier to work for than the employer who suddenly gets on the defensive.
C IS FOR COMPENSATION
If both the credentials and the chemistry are right then the employer can elect to discuss compensation. The candidate needs to be prepared with factual information, especially if part of the current or last year’s earning included bonus incentives. Offer to provide a copy of the previous year’s W2 and / or a recent pay stub to verify compensation history. Meanwhile the employer has ideally gathered some of this information prior to the interview and has thought about how to structure the compensation to fit the position, the candidate and the peer managers with the organization.
Besides salary and bonus incentives, compensation discussion can also include benefit topics such as medical insurance, vacation, and, if appropriate, relocation assistance. As the candidate it is always best to wait until the employer has discussed the salary portion of the compensation as part of the job offer (defined by salary, position title and projected start date).
No matter which side of the desk you are by remembering the 3 Cs should get you through interview process. However, both the employer and the candidate have a shared responsibility to identify the Credentials, develop good Chemistry and discuss Compensation. If it all fits then the result should be a successful interview, which in most cases creates a job offer, which typically will be accepted, which hopefully will be a Win Win.
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