You are sitting across from a stranger. You can see a bead of sweat forming on their lip and you wonder how they can possibly explain to me how much they want to work on this project when they look this shaken. Welcome to the recruitment process from the other side of the desk.

Recently I found myself tasked with the responsibility for finding a visionary to manage a soon-to-be-opened creative centre. My partner in crime for this project was Blathnaid Healy and I remember the moment we both came to the view (almost timed to the second in a freaky twin like coincidence) that the selection process itself had to be creative. From there on, we knew it was the personality we were looking for. Someone creative, someone exciting, someone funny, someone Wilde.

We began with the application itself. We asked for a Linkedin profile and a pitch. What would you do if ..... The response was mixed. Some nailed it, some totally ignored what we asked and gave us a CV and cover letter (maybe job application fatigue?) and some engaged with it. The latter were a little unsure, but had a go anyway.

We continued this approach into the interview process so our questions never began with ‘it says on your CV...’. Our questions were designed to find out about the person as the second round interviews would give us more insight into their skills – and it was here that things got really interesting.  

A piece of advice from the interviewer to the interviewee: be yourself. This applies whether you’re going for a job, looking to collaborate or joining a new company. It sounds like I’m stating the obvious, but that’s all anyone looking to work with you wants to know to begin with. Are you the guy or gal we encountered on the application  It’s either a fit or it isn’t.

It’s when you try to be the person you think the company wants and you are not yourself that the whole thing unravels. That’s when the bead of sweat forms, you loose track and it becomes uncomfortable – for you and us.