At Talentfoot Executive Search, aswe partner with organizations to onboard executive level talent, our hiring managers often ask us if final presentations or final projects are necessary as part of the interview process.
The reason being, hiring managers are sensitive to the fact that most candidates are currently employed full time and asking them to complete a final project can seem like a lot to ask after multiple rounds of interviews. The question arises when the candidate has a proven track record across the board and has passed each round of interviews with flying colors and with no concerns. It is the perfect candidate and the team is beyond confident in the candidate’s abilities.
Therefore, “is a final presentation necessary at this point when we know the candidate can do the job?”
In almost every case, the answer is YES!
Requiring a final project or interview presentation as the final step in the evaluation process allows hiring teams to further evaluate the candidate’s overall fit for the role beyond the topics discussed in the first rounds. You wouldn’t buy a car without test-driving it, and the same thought process applies here. Final projects showcase more than the candidate’s qualifications for the job as it relates to skill set and industry knowledge. Those components have already been vetted and approved; now you’re ready for a test drive.
Below are five critical focus areas hiring managers can effectively evaluate from a final interview presentation to ensure they are extending an offer to the right candidate.
1. Candidate’s interest level
Hiring managers are often concerned about turning the candidate off in the final stages by asking for too much. If the expectation of a final project is set from the beginning, it will not turn off the right candidate for the job. Instead it is the ultimate tool to help gauge the candidate’s interest level at the final stages of the interview process.
When a candidate really wants the job, he/she will view this as an opportunity to showcase how they are a fit for the role and will find time to complete the project no matter how busy they are. On the flip side it often weeds out candidates who are on the fence and not entirely sure they are ready to leave their current role and/or join your organization. In that case, it is better to find out sooner rather than later. With that said, it is important to allow adequate time to complete the project while taking into consideration their current responsibilities. Typically one week is a sufficient amount of time for a candidate to prepare.
2. Ability to follow directions
Assigning a final project is a fantastic opportunity to see first-hand how the candidate follows your instruction. The more precise you are on your instructions, the easier it will be for you to evaluate the candidate’s ability to follow your direction and deliver on your expectations. For example: Did they cover all of the objectives? Did they send you the file ahead of time as asked? Did they stay within the allotted time frame? Did they leave time for Q&A?, etc.
The new hire should be confident in their abilities to perform in their new role. Therefore, the candidate should exuberate confidence as it relates to completing the project and also in their understanding of the subject matter. If there is hesitation overall, significant concern in regards to delivering on expectations, and/or a great deal of misunderstanding as it relates to the project, this hire may not have the confidence you need in the role.
4. Communication skills
At this point in the process, you’ve likely gained a strong sense for the candidate’s interpersonal skills. Yet, what about their writing skills? Their presentation skills? Their ability to speak in front of a group of people? Also, how do they communicate with their future boss in regards to preparing for the project? Did they proactively seek answers to the questions they had in advance of presenting?
5. Cultural fit
How does the candidate interact with the audience before and after the presentation? Is there easy conversation? Was the team in sync with the candidate? Did the candidate appear comfortable with the team and vice versa? Were there collaborative thoughts, actions and discussion during the Q&A?
Overall, both the hiring manager and the candidate should feel comfortable and confident moving into the final presentation phase of the interview process. It’s an opportunity for the candidate to showcase they are a fit for the role beyond their resume credentials; and it is an opportunity for the hiring manager to evaluate the candidate beyond their proven track record.
Are final presentations a part of your interview process? If so, how has the final presentation helped you in the decision making process whether it led to extending an offer or deciding otherwise? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org as we welcome your input.