Is he a Fighter or a Lover?


I recently presented a shortlist of three excellent candidates to a client.  The role was that of a Senior Business Development Manager.  The client listened to my appraisals and read the CV’s.

She then indicated a particular interest in one of the candidates and turned to me and asked “But is he a fighter or a lover?”  I was a little surprised by the question but, on quick reflection, thought it a good and incisive one. It was an interesting way of her asking whether the candidate was a person who would press courageously for what they believed in, both inside the company and in business dealings with their clients. By the use of the word ‘lover’ she was referring to the kind of person who gets their way with people by getting alongside and finding a way to mutually productive agreements, generally without confrontation.  The respective styles can both be effective.  What my client wanted to know was how the candidate typically got to the yes point.

Position Specifications and CV’s generally don’t talk about style issues such as this.  It is, however, an important characteristic of people. When assessing a prospective candidate the experienced recruiter must make a professional judgment of issues such as this both through direct assessment and through discussions with referees and others who know the person. This is one of the reasons why a recruiter with years of senior management experience is so well equipped to assist clients to find people who will best serve the position ‘well beyond the spec’ as we say.

I have heard clients comment that recruitment seems to be ‘part science, part art’.  This is a fair comment as the assessment of candidates is a complex matter.  Despite this, it is well known that some mass-market recruiters use computers to search for key words in CVs and match them to the words used in client Position Descriptions. I’ll let the reader make their own judgment as to whether such mechanisation could be consistently effective.

My client did get the answer to the question and, through the full interview and reference checking process, appointed the candidate who is now serving my client well. Next time I will be even better prepared for this interesting question.   If you would like to know more about this topic or you would like to suggest a topic for me to write about then please contact me

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