Widnet Solutions

INTERVIEW WITH AN EXPERT “Turning talent into opportunity”

Interview with Luisa Meneghetti

– a Recruiter based in Switzerland

  1. What are red flags in the behavior of an applicant when attending the interview? 

Whether in person or online, the job interview is an opportunity to know each other better. When a candidate is disengaged during the conversation (meaning, s/he doesn’t pay attention, loses track of the questions, doesn’t have questions about the company or the role for the recruiter) or is unprepared on his/her own professional experience, the mind of the recruiter takes note. These are all red flags that might preclude the candidate from receiving an invitation to continue with the recruitment process. (Note that a skilled recruiter is able to tell if a candidate is distracted even on a phone call without video.) 

  1. Recruitment process usually takes a lot of time and applicants are asked to go through so many rounds of testing. What can be done in order to minimize time spent on the recruitment process?

A great start is to acknowledge that there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ recruitment process. Next, is proceeding to ask the right questions, aimed at knowing exactly the role you are trying to fill. Is this a junior or senior position? Senior roles comes with more responsibilities, therefore need to be checked by several different members of the organization; on the contrary, candidates for junior roles do not need to talk with ten different employees during the recruitment process. Does this role require technical knowledge? If yes, then a skill test is included in the process. Each role is different and hiring teams need to apply flexibility, because it is the recruitment process that is shaped around the role, not the other way round. I personally enjoy presenting key requirements as a a short series of self-screening questions in the job ad (“Do you have at least 5 years of full-time experience with JavaScript? Are you proficient in this cross-platform apps development? Are you willing to relocate to city X in country Y?”) because it helps candidates self-assess and decide whether to invest time in the application or not. Another element that certainly helps to reduce the time and stress of the process is the ATS, which supports the hiring team in keeping track of all open roles, ongoing communications, applicants’ dossiers, thus acting as a time saver and reducing potential mistakes along the process.

  1. People are tired of long interviewing process and many steps they have to pass. How should the ideal and most efficient job interview look like?

An efficient interview has a skill check for competencies and a behavioral check for fit. These can take place in two distinct conversations or can be part of a longer individual one, depending on the role and urgency to fill the opening. I personally like to offer some support to other members of the hiring team who aren’t familiar with recruitment processes, such as technical staff or sometimes even managers, either by sharing advice on how to structure their conversation ahead of the interview, or by helping them become aware of potential biases they might carry in the conversation with the candidates. In my experience, the ideal interview is when the conversation flows effortlessly from both sides, and it actually feels more like a pleasant talk than a Q&A session.  

  1. We live in a digital era where personal physical presence is not needed and where everything can be done online (thanks to internet) via computers. When we compare online interview with face to face interview what are the main pros and cons you noticed?

It has been widely shared that video interviews lack the “personal touch” that both candidates and recruiters feel when interviewing in person. While some cues can be lost, I confirm that experienced interviewers can still pick up the personality of a candidate. The rise of remote jobs encouraged job seekers to apply to workplaces that weren’t traditionally on their radar, and this is in fact beneficial on many respects: people are improving their digital presentation skills and actively learning how to use different online tools. Since the future of work is rooted in digitalization, this can only be good news. Another tangible benefit of online interviewing is that it drastically reduces costs. No more flights just to have an interview with a potential employer! On the company side, I noticed that digitalization also means trying new methods to become more inclusive of diverse talents: for example, sharing the interview questions in advance and asking candidates to video record their answers has been welcomed by the neurodiverse community. Will the in-person interview disappear? I don’t believe so, it is more likely that it will be introduced to later stages in the recruitment process. 

  1. Young professionals are often facing obstacles when looking for their first job. Meaning when reading about job requirements being unrealistic and too demanding for someone who has just finished university (i.e 2, 3 years of experience for a junior position). Do you think that in the future employers should lower the bar and be more realistic?

One of my LinkedIn connection recently posted an image of Dude With Sign, which read: “Make entry level jobs entry level again”. I have to agree, too many job posting are categorized as “entry level” only to discover that at least 3 years of experience are required. When did that happen, when did entry level become ‘at least 2-3 years’ of experience? A larger access to global talents can only partially explain it. My understanding is that employers have become more risk-averse. They wish to outsource the risks (and costs) of training people to someone else, while keeping the competitive edge of their business. In that sense, I wouldn’t say employers should lower the bar but instead they should be willing to take a calculated risk on someone, as it has always been the case, after all.

  1. Your motto is “turning talent into opportunity;” why is it so difficult to understand how to channel one’s skills and how are you contributing to that?

We are too often focussed on the destination instead of asking ‘am I enjoying the journey? Do I like the way I work?’ This is something I help my clients discover through the personality at work WorkPlace Big Five Profile ™ assessments. Once we know what our strengths are, what work environment we prefer, what tasks we naturally enjoy the most, it is incredibly easier to contribute at our best and to select the right professional opportunities for us. The pandemic has been an opportunity for many workers to start this self-discovery path, with outstanding results. I hope it will continue.

  1. Who should be in charge of recognizing employees’ talent in an organization? Only the HR manager or everyone in leading positions?
I am all in for a proactive approach. Talent is everywhere, therefore, everyone is in charge of nurturing it to the extent of their role and abilities. HR staff are in a unique position to help everyone become talent makers. Thanks to people analytics and an increasing offer of high-quality virtual trainings, recognizing and nurturing in-house talent can be done in an efficient and customized way, while managers can prevent attrition by regularly asking their employees ‘What can I do to help you thrive? Is there something you want to learn next or try?’. The majority of learning opportunities (trainings, professional certificates, languages courses, and more) are taken within 3 months of the departure of an employee from the workplace. This is a failure, but it can be fixed.
  1. In the end, what would you advise every young professional when preparing for a job interview? Give us some tips on how person can prepare the best for an interview.
One thing that can help any candidate: keep a list of all your achievements, I call it the ‘positive results list’. Learn it like the PIN of your credit card. Practice you answers out loud. Preparation nurtures confidence, and confidence is great to listen to. Research the company and your interviewer, too. A quick internet search could lead you to discover useful information that you can bring later in the conversation. Come with pertinent questions for the interviewer (about the role, the company, the expectations, etc). Last but not least, support your health: good sleep and healthy food are part of preparing for an interview, too. I saw too many over caffeinated candidates who didn’t perform well in the end.

interview with:

Luisa Meneghetti

Luisa Meneghetti

a Recruiter based in Switzerland

About Luisa