article, Is The War for Talent Being Lost at the Interview? : by Paul Copcutt

Is The War for Talent Being Lost at the Interview?
By Paul Copcutt


Regardless of recessions or market downturns, the war for talent is on and its here to stay for the foreseeable future. Its just pure demographics that is dictating that there will be less good people around to perform the jobs.


Hiring companies and recruiters are spending a lot of time and resources in making sure they are winning the war for talent – or at the very least getting the right talent in front of them through employer branding, headhunter fees and employee referral programs.


And talented people themselves are spending more time and resources on building their personal brands, getting coached and crafting the right career marketing documents to get noticed and in front of the companies where they want to work.




Well at least according to two surveys of job-seekers and hiring managers, the hiring managers and recruiters are blowing it as far as the following numbers of job seekers are concerned;


68% of those surveyed cited an aloof attitude by hiring managers


55% complained that interviewers with hold information about the position, and what the job actually entails.


48% said they are aggravated by interviewers who show up late or who are unprepared


45% said they are turned off by interviewers who ask questions they feel are unrelated to job skills needed for the position.


But it’s not all a one way street, as far as employers see it, the numbers of job seekers blowing it are;


77% of hiring managers complained about job candidates being late for interviews, being poorly dressed or unkempt


71% were irritated by job-seekers who gave vague answers about past work experience


62% complained about job-seekers exaggerating their qualifications


53% said they were bothered by inarticulate candidates


52% complained about candidates who treated interview questions as if it were an imposition.


The interview room is becoming the new battleground for talent, unfortunately for all the wrong reasons and the survey goes on further to highlight some key impasses that savvy hiring companies and flexible talent needs to address.


Both sides can start by following the same rules for interviews:


1. Do your research, find out more about the other ‘side’ than what is presented on paper. There should be no excuse for not using the internet.


2. Dress appropriately for your industry, culture and level of position. Better to err on more professional, you can always dress down but never up.


3. Treat everyone equally, you never know who they know or might be talking to afterwards. Be on time and respectful of others time.


4. Make and keep good eye contact. Show genuine interest in the other ‘side’


5. You are not expected to be an expert at this. The interview is a fairly false situation that no-one is completely comfortable with, so remember we are all entitled to be a little nervous – but that is not an excuse to be unprepared.


6. Make it a conversation, ask and answer questions, do not make it all a one way street – either way. Share information to ensure you are BOTH making an informed choice.


7. Confirm your interest if that is the case, do not leave either ‘side’ hanging on or getting the wrong impression.


At the end of the day it should not be viewed as a war or a battle, but a business meeting that might result in a win for everyone.




Paul Copcutt is Canada's leading personal brand consultant, combining a passion for people with a realization that strengths and specialization are the keys to success. Experiencing corporate downsizing during the last recession, Paul knows what it takes to stand out in a depressed job market. This resulted in his gathering successful experience in biotech (with no degree or science qualifications), consumer goods and executive recruitment in North America and Europe.


Recognised by Forbes as a leading personal brand strategist globally he is a much sought after speaker and media resource, interviewed by Reuters, The Wall Street Journal and regularly appears in The Globe & Mail.


He is also passionate about the next generation being informed and inspired to personally brand themselves successfully and seeks corporately sponsored opportunities to get that message in to schools, colleges and universities that will enable him to reach a million students in the next 10 years.