We all know how hard it is to access the compatibility of candidates for a job. Tests, interviews, graphologists, peer interviews: we have all had to eat our humble pie after massive errors of judgement.
I have been way off many times and I am not kind to myself after I miss. But thankfully, my clients are nicer to me than I am to myself because I try to do my best to innovate in order to improve.
One of the factors that I try to access in each interview is the level of political savvy that a potential client has, since more often than not, it is the organizational politics that plays a critical role in the adjustment of the candidate. There are a lot of organizations which don’t test for political skills, especially organizations that are very political. The army and family businesses are a good example, as are large and older organizations.
I will provide some examples of how I try to access political skills.
- For a family organization
The CEO, your boss, is extremely dominating. Furthermore, some of his critical decisions are made in haste. The CEO’s mother wants to speak to you next week. She is the former chairwoman and founder. What are your thoughts? Plans? Fears in any? Describe your approach.
- For an engineering job at a senior level
You have been asked to submit a budget to present to the Board which covers 60% of what you actually need. Your boss has told you that the budget submission is a political act, and later on down the line, he will allocate “whatever is necessary”. How will you react to your boss’s request?
- For a business development role for hi-tech
You are about to meet with new investors who may be interested in injecting money into the company for which you work. You have been thinking of jumping ship because the next product releases are 1) too buggy and 2) too late; you are pretty negative about where your company is heading. You know that these investors will really bad mouth you if you mis-represent, but you need to stay put until you get a new job (which is not easy) because of your mortgage payments. What’s your plan?
These are just a few of the many examples I have developed.
Try doing so next time you are fishing for a candidate. It may add just a bit more of validity in the perilous process of predicting success.