How New Recruiters Can Learn to Look Below the Surface

There are many things recruiters have to be: responsive, passionate, and timely on their delivery on promises. But what separates the very best recruiters from the rest? Georgia Slattery, award-winning Specialist Recruiter at Flight Centre, believes looking beneath the surface is key. She shares three situations where looking below the surface is essential for getting the right candidate.

Scenario 1: The Charismatic Candidate

On the surface:

One of your candidates comes into the interview like they’re walking into a meetup with an old friend. They answer all your questions without a hitch and leave the interview as unfrazzled as they came. A perfect candidate?

Beneath the surface:

Newer recruiters sometimes make the mistake of thinking that a good interview manner means a good hire. It’s only natural that people get nervous in interviews – know that you’re talking to a person in a vulnerable position. Even if you’re hiring for a role which involves communication and customer interaction, day to day work is a very different ballpark.

Don’t overlook candidates who take a bit to get going. To get a better sense of who someone really is, warm candidates up in the interview and calm their nerves. Open questions are key and always probe if you're not totally satisfied with their answer.

I find asking situation/example-based questions help as well. One particular line of questioning may be:

  • Can you tell me a time where your team/company went through a large change?
  • How did that impact you?
  • What was the process to move forward? 

Scenario 2: The Mona-Lisa Resume

On the surface:

One of your candidate’s resumes just about makes you weep with its technical perfection. It looks amazing visually, but all the content still comes first – and it’s just the right length. The candidate’s skills and experience hit just the right areas you’re looking for. A perfect candidate?

Beneath the surface:

It might sound odd, but when a candidate has made it to the interview stage, don’t place stock in the resume. A good or “flashy” a resume isn’t a one-for-one on to how good the candidate is.

This is especially the case when you’re looking for written communication skills – just because a resume is well written doesn’t mean a candidate is good at writing. More often than not, the candidate has had their resume written for them, by either a recruitment agency or online service. 

Scenario 3: The New Best Friend

On the surface:

You’ve really connected with this interviewee. You’ve shared numerous life experiences, you see things eye to eye. They’ll be working on your team, so surely this means they’ll be a good fit for the culture. A perfect candidate?

Beneath the surface:

Building rapport with a candidate like you can often be a good thing, and in some situations it can really mean they’re a great fit – so long as you don’t overlook everything else. But sometimes a so-called connection with particular interviewees may be the result of something more insidious: unconscious bias.

Someone raised with the same circumstances as you is inherently more likely to be similar to you. Open-mindedness is about seeing past the stereotypes, but it’s also about being willing to look past first impressions. Deliberately take the time to form a connection with people who you aren’t instantly drawn to, and you might find it stronger than one that’s already there.

What we do at FCTG

At Flight Centre Travel Group, we get a kick out of matching people to their dream jobs, and for that to happen, we like to see the process from start to finish. From a candidate’s perspective, we're always around to answer any questions or help with concerns. And true to FCTG style, we try and make it fun!

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