This CEO Hires Candidate Who Struggled In Interview. Here’s Why

The CEO said sometimes it’s hard to know a candidate’s full capabilities in an interview. Image: Unsplash

In the fast-paced world of corporate leadership, where decisions often hinge on split-second judgments, Brigette Hyacinth, the CEO and founder of Leadership EQ, recently shared a thought-provoking experience on LinkedIn that challenged conventional hiring wisdom. Her post, which attracted widespread attention and engagement, delved into the story of a candidate whose initial interview performance belied the potential Mrs Hyacinth sensed within.

In her LinkedIn post, the CEO and founder of Leadership EQ recounted the pivotal decision she made in hiring a candidate who “struggled” to communicate during the interview process. Despite the visible nervousness and the challenges the candidate faced in effectively conveying their thoughts, Mrs Hyacinth found herself relying on a hunch-an intuition that told her this individual was the right fit for the job.

“Disaster! So, I interviewed a highly recommended candidate. The interview was a nightmare. She was so nervous she could barely communicate. A deer in the headlights. She bombed miserably. Still, I couldn’t get past my gut feeling that she was the best candidate for the job. Is it possible to overlook a poor interview performance?” Hyacinth posted on LinkedIn.

The post detailed the challenging interview, highlighting the candidate’s difficulties in communication. Mrs Hyacinth, however, couldn’t dismiss her gut feeling that this struggling interviewee possessed untapped potential. This internal conflict led her to question the conventional wisdom surrounding job interviews: Can a lackluster interview truly reflect a candidate’s capabilities?

Choosing to trust her instincts, Mrs Hyacinth decided to take a chance on the nervous interviewee. To her surprise, within six months, the once-struggling candidate transformed into one of her top performers. This success story became a testament to the limitations of interviews in providing a comprehensive assessment of an individual’s abilities.

“I gambled and decided to give her a try, and within six months, she was one of my top performers. Sometimes, it’s hard to know a candidate’s full capabilities in a job interview. We shouldn’t be too quick to cross someone off who doesn’t interview well. The truth is interviews can be nerve-wracking. There is so much more to a person than just passing/failing an interview,” she added.

The LinkedIn post struck a chord with the professional community, amassing over 95,000 likes and sparking a discussion in the comments section.

LinkedIn users resonated with the shared sentiment, expressing empathy for the nervousness experienced during interviews and advocating for a shift towards evaluating actions over words in the hiring process. One user underscored the disconnection between interview performance and on-the-job success, emphasising the complexity of assessing individuals solely through interviews.

“And then there are candidates who are excellent at interviews, that gets them the job, and they go on to become really miserable performers (talkers, rather than doers kind). Like your gut instinct told you that that candidate, even though she interviewed ‘miserably’, is now one of your top performers; that gut instinct to be able to identify talent and give them a chance by taking that risk is also an intrinsic marker of ‘leadership’. Unfortunately, there are not many leaders out there, and hence we see what we see, in terms of acquiring and retaining talent,” an individual said.

Notably, a user proposed a practical solution to ease candidate nervousness-sending interview questions in advance to gauge preparedness and alleviate stress.

“During my next round of interviews, when I send an appointment for the interview, I plan on sending them the questions I want to ask to give them more time to prepare. They may be less nervous, and it will let me see if this is someone who took the time to read the questions I ask”.

Mrs Hyacinth’s anecdote had ignited a conversation on the nuances of interviewing and the multifaceted nature of assessing a candidate’s potential.

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