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What Hiring Managers want to listen from a Prospective Employee during an Interview

By: Amitrajit Ghosh, Head of HR 
Central Engineering Chennai & Coatings Plant, Dow Chemical

Interview is one of the most crucial stages in the overall hiring process and a high resource investment activity. Hiring managers invest substantial portion of their time in this process and are on a look out for that right candidate within a stipulated time.

Since Dow’s Central Engineering Chennai is primarily hiring engineers at the entry to mid-level, this article, hopefully, will provide some guidelines to all aspirants. And if you are looking to build a career with Dow Chemical, click here to apply to the latest jobs.

In this article I have covered expectations of a hiring manager from a prospective employee under following heads:

• Technical Depth

• Skill Fitment
• Cultural Fitment
• Mobility
• Ability to Articulate
• Assurance Quotient

Technical Depth: Hiring managers are looking for the technical depth in a prospective employee. This is also where candidates mostly lose out because of their inability to answer those technical questions. These questions typically are basic questions that aspirants would have already covered in their college days.

There used to be a time, when hiring managers approached interviews with an objective to find what candidates didn’t know. But today, they approach interviews with a mindset to find what candidates know well. Hence, there would be question as “Tell us what your favourite subject was during your days in engineering college?” The hiring manager expects candidates to be thorough in the subject. It’s all about having a strong ‘core’ and having your fundamentals right.

Skill Fitment: After technical depth, follows skill fitment. In today’s context, organisations expect ‘more with less’, which is nothing but highly skilled and efficient resource capable to deliver the best with little or no supervision.

The candidate should have been smart to have understood the job description thoroughly and in turn map it to his/her CV. The hiring manager during the interview is keen to understand from the aspirant how his/her skills are best suited for the job and also if it would lead to a shorter learning curve.

The aspirant also needs to share some relevant and successful past experiences and specifically mention about his/her significant contributions.

At the same time, the hiring manager is also interested to hear how the candidate is keeping himself abreast on new skills in a fast changing world. Hence, if the candidate is able to talk about some new skills acquired that would help in the organizations current and future needs, would surely work in her/his favour.

Cultural Fitment: Every organization has a unique culture. Success of an employee depends on his/her speed of alignment to the organisation’s culture. It is not easy to completely assess this during an interview. However, if the candidate has done some prior research about the organisation and is able to quote examples of her demonstrated values or competencies in the current and past organisations, that this organisation too holds dear, will surely earn some brownie points.

Mobility: Global corporations as Dow Chemical, with its presence across the globe would really be keen to know if the candidate is mobile and willing to travel or even relocate. Openness to mobility surely helps in accelerating ones career prospects. Sharing about past cross cultural exposure too boosts a candidate’s selection prospects. Coupled with knowledge of a foreign language can be a lethal combination.

Articulation: Career success and ability to articulate effectively goes hand in hand. In the limited time assigned during an interview, ability to communicate and sell ones skills is an art. Our engineers who work on projects across the globe are expected to communicate with their counterparts more over phone or emails than face to face. This makes communication skills more crucial skill to assess.

Assurance Quotient: Will this talent, stick? When it comes to organization as large as Dow Chemical, any employee takes a fair amount of time before (s)he actually starts making meaningful contribution. There’s lot of time invested in training new hires. Hence, all hiring leaders look at the candidate’s stickability what I call as the candidate’s ‘Assurance Quotient’.

While an employees’ tenure in past organisations is surely one indicator but apart from that during an interview too the candidate can reinforce this message. How? By aligning her career aspirations to that of the organizations. The candidate need to exhibit both through words and body language a keen interest in the organization(s) he is being interviewed for.

So, it’s a tall order. Hiring managers surely place a significant amount of importance on interviews. The mantra lies in ‘Preparation’ ‘Preparation’ ‘Preparation’. Candidates need to approach an interview with the mindset to win. For this they need to do their homework in all earnest. Remember the age old adage which is relevant even today ‘No Pain No Gain’.

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