7 Tips to discover the true candidate


"I see right through you." If only we could... Today’s financial world is – to say the least – a tumultuous place. Can we still trust it, really? If we are to believe critics, all is to blame on finance professionals lacking integrity. Clearly, we would never claim that finance professionals in fact lack certain ethics, but let’s face it – you need a bit more than just being a good boy or girl to cut it in today’s corporate world. It is a thin line between being sincere and being a snake. Thin, yet crucial. Tmes have changed and with it also the importance of being sincere more than a snake. Whether it is just a temporary thing or a panic reaction to numb the critics, in practice this means that ethics and integrity are increasingly more important for companies and institutions when reviewing new employees. The financial world needs to get rid of the stigma of its current imago, in which only money and power reign.

Here's an interesting one for HR. When faced with an applicant, how can you find out if he or she possesses the right values and ethics? Here are 7 tips to discover....

Identify the company's values

What are the company's own values? What does the company find important, what are the expectations from employees, how are they expected to behave, how can one describe the company's culture? These questions should be top of mind for management and HR before starting the search for a new member of staff. These questions focus more on the personal aspect of the company and its employees.

Because more often than not, job specs merely identify the required competences and skills of the new employee. However, the personal skills and values of the candidate are just as important. Never underestimate the importance of making sure that the 'morale' of the applicant and that of the company is a good match too.

2. Measure the values of the applicant (using different tools)

Once the values of the company are established and you have identified what type of employee is desired, the actual selection procedure can commence. Assessments are still considered very effective manners to get the best insight in one's qualities. To base your opinion of the applicant on conversations only, often provides an incomplete picture.

When different tools are used, it is essential that all used tools are aimed at measuring the same qualities and values. Using different tools to measure identical entities offers the greatest possible insight.

3. Test the applicant's values

By measuring one's personal values, companies are given the opportunity to compare those of the applicant with the values of the company. As mentioned before, values such as integrity, transparency and honesty lately have gained ground within the financial world. When assessing if the candidate fits the criteria as early as 'at the gate', the chance of a long-lasting, successful cooperation is significantly bigger.

A definition of values is always somewhat abstract, but we like to define them as 'what a person considers to be important' and 'things driving somebody'. One's values are extremely influential in his behaviour, and therefore a crucial aspect of one's success in (your) business. We dare to say that one's appropriate behaviour sometimes should be considered more important than his or her possibly outstanding competences. Remember, candidates with the right competences, do not always have the right mindset.

4. Observe the applicant's dealing with other people

Besides one's personal values, someone's interpersonal values are just as influential in someone's behaviour. When assessing the candidate, make sure to observe his interaction with people around him. One's way of interacting with other people provides a worthy insight in his style, tone and what he (or she) finds important in his contact with others.

5. Use the test results in the interview

Once in the selection process, candidates often first have their interview, and only then are subdued to a personality test. We advise to reverse that order, so the test results of one's values can be discussed and evaluated in the interview. Perhaps it is not the most conventional approach, but in our view it adds well-needed depth and value to the interview. Plus: it makes the conversation a lot more personal and efficient, since the interviewer can focus on those elements revealed by the test regarding one's values and ethics.

6. Do a role-play

Role-playing is the ideal way to meet the applicant's primary reactions. Clearly, he or she will always try to react the way deemed desired, or socially acceptable. But how does he/she react instantly when confronted with a dilemma or difficult situation? Role-playing often eliminates socially-desired behaviour, and reveals the 'real' person. Needless to say that is exactly who you truly wish to meet before hiring him/her.

7. Keep testing regularly

Lastly, management plays a vital role in the way an employee develops within a company. Management should most definitely not only focus on an employee's performance, but just as much on how he or she moves and develops within a company. Also be aware that the change of the outside world has a great impact on employees and their performances, which should be kept in mind. Especially in the financial world, performances sometimes can be the most flawed indicator when assessing one's success.

In today's turbulent financial world, honesty and integrity are considered some of the main drivers for the recovery of the global economy. Corporates should consider it one of their tasks to reinstall it right at the entrance of the financial world, starting in the candidate's seat. If we all do our best to bring (back) as much ethics and integrity, the world and its economy will definitely become a better place.

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category: guest articles

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