A recruitment interview is a very particular situation between a candidate and a consultant because the context will never be identical.

-1- The content instead of the container

The recruitment methodology of Phénicia Conseil consists in ignoring the container of the interview: the form, appearances, and manner in which the interview took place, in order to focus solely on the content that corresponds to the investigation of facts and the proof of competences for a position.


-2- Too much consideration for the superficial

This is one of the most common errors made by recruitment theorists who, in order to compensate for their lack of expertise in operational positions, focus on the container.

However, the container does not predict the content, nor does the flask cause drunkenness.

In the case of wine, some people choose to concentrate on the bottle rather than tasting and “re-tasting” the wine.

They simply judge the shape of the bottle, the label, and the back label… frequently because they are unsure of what they are looking for.

In the same way, if the HR consultant is influenced by the context of the interview, he will tend to focus on a detail, an attitude, a facial expression, a diploma, a skill or a defect according to his perception, to the detriment of the essential.

He will fall victim to a syndrome well known to specialists in communication and interpersonal relations: the halo effect… the so-called “feeling”, a term to be banned from any recruitment process… a single criterion, often emotional, takes precedence over all the rest of the interview and influences the entire exchange.

From an intellectual point of view, we can wonder how an attitude that does not please an HR consultant during an interview can override the richness of a professional career, the quality of the results obtained… how a graphological analysis can call into question the psychological balance of a candidate who has demonstrated in the positions he has held a capacity to adapt to any professional and cultural context.

One succeeds with his defects, for example, Beethoven’s deafness was not an obstacle to his genius and Bernard Tapie’s excessive passion allowed him to accomplish a remarkable professional career.


-3- A projection phenomenon between the consultant and the candidate 

This unfortunately frequent psychological mechanism leads to errors of judgment.

In projections, the HR consultant develops affinities with the candidate and projects his own image on him, thus discovering similarities with him.

Following this logic, an HR consultant will prefer a candidate who practices spiritual yoga (a popular current trend) over someone who is passionate about bullfighting… if he is also a personal development advocate.

These recruitment illusionists, who do not truly understand what they are looking for, compensate for their lack of operational vision for a position by creating a general impression that is unrelated to the candidate’s permanent reality, which is defined by his skills and abilities to fill a position.


-4- Professional competence should not be assessed on the basis of an impression 

The recruitment interview is an intellectual recruitment process that must follow a precise methodology, a preparation time, a strict code of ethics and a high level of intellectual probity.

This process must be rational and logical in order to eliminate the influence of personal feelings and prejudices.

An interview must always be based on a framework and criteria in accordance with a methodology and not on an impression made by a candidate.

The HR consultant must always have in mind what he is recruiting for so that the evaluation is carried out on the competencies required for a position.


-5- The definition of a position and its missions

One of the prerequisites to the interview is the definition of the position and the missions to be fulfilled by the future employee.

A perfect knowledge of the position is essential for the HR Consultant: 

Its objectives, the means allocated, the position in the organization chart, the connections with other departments, etc…


-6- Defining the skills and abilities needed to perform in the position

The definition of the position must be converted into competencies and skills in order to guide the choice of questions to ask the candidate and the search for information.

The list of skills and abilities must be precise, and each one must be mentioned in detail:


a) Individual abilities: 

Flexibility, adaptability, tenacity, autonomy, ability to take risks, decisiveness, pressure tolerance.


b) Interpersonal abilities:

Ability to integrate, communicate, work in a team, persuade.

  • Supervisory abilities in the case of a Manager: 

Planning and organization, delegation, control, leadership and development of employees.


c) Mental abilities:

Problem analysis, creativity, involvement, energy, initiative.


d) Technical skills:

Each position may require specific technical skills that are essential to the role: 

Language proficiency, engineering knowledge, financial expertise…


-7- A candidate’s potential

We distinguish five criteria that allow us to evaluate the potential of a candidate in a projective and not static approach to a recruitment:

Leadership, creativity, ability to take a step back, quality of analysis and synthesis, pragmatism and realistic thinking, decision making.


-8- Definition of competency selection criteria:

The competency criteria selected must allow for the evaluation of the candidate’s suitability for the position.

The evaluation must be based on an evaluation grid that will allow for several levels of suitability for the position:

  • Alignment with the company’s culture
  • Alignment with the manager’s vision
  • Suitability for key competency criteria
  • Suitability for the required experience in a similar position


Among the abilities, we can mention those that are prioritized for specific positions:

  •  Tolerance to pressure as part of individual abilities
  •  Oral communication as part of relational abilities
  •  Leadership as a managerial ability
  •  Creativity as a mental ability
  •  Fluency in English as a technical ability
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