Day 5: Communications- Summarizing the Role of Your Candidate Communications in the Hiring Process

There are three opportunities for an organization to assess an individual’s communications capabilities for a job match.   First, there is the written record of the candidate in the form of a resume, publications, social media sites and correspondence to include emails. Second is the candidate’s verbal responses to specific interview questions. And third, the communication demeanor of the candidate throughout the hiring process, to include the final job negotiations. No one person in the organization will experience all these communication opportunities with a candidate. However, any one person can generate a negative report about their candidate experience in any of the three communication opportunities.  Any negative report will “flag” a candidate and require additional time for consideration by the interviewing team. This delay may be enough to drop the candidate from being a finalist for the job.

There is a “natural evaluation hierarchy” in the staging of the three communication opportunities.  The first written communications stage is focused on the resume which serves as the initial introduction of the candidate.  The day of the generic resume is gone.  Candidates generally will invest time and seek assistance in preparing their job-specific resume recognizing that the resume is key to the selection as a participant in the second communication opportunity, the interview.

The verbal communication opportunity in the interview presents the most difficult evaluation stage in being selected as a finalist for that job you seek. For many candidates, this is their first exposure to the sophisticated behavioral based interviewing process which is the gold standard for interview questions and response evaluations.  Also, the inherent difficulty of preparing for verbal spontaneous responses to difficult questions from a variety of interviewers can be overwhelming. If a candidate does not prepare for this communication stage, they have little chance of advancing to the finals.  Here are four classic behavioral based questions you could be asked in the interview about your communication experience. How would you answer these questions, and would your answer vary if the interviewer were the CEO, or the Project Manager, or your future Boss?

  1. Describe a recent event when your audience had difficulty understanding the technical details of your research and how did you resolve the issue?
  2. When was the last time you needed to get some detailed facts from another person and all you could got were “yes or no” responses? What did you do to accomplish your task?
  3. Tell me about your own ability to keep from blowing your top at someone who has criticized your work. Give me a recent example and how you handled the situation.
  4. Let us say I am a fellow worker here at our company and we are meeting for the first time. What would you tell me about yourself? What would you want to know about me? Walk me through the last time you met someone that you wanted to develop a relationship with. It can be work or any other social setting.

If you follow the STAR format in your response (Situation, Task, Action, Result), practice your “STAR Story” in mock interviews with colleagues, and do your research on the company, then your interview results will both demonstrate your verbal communication skills and make a positive contribution to the third stage of communication evaluation. Your third communication demeanor opportunity is the summation of all the communication interactions along the way.

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