The Single Biggest Interviewing Turn Off for Top Talent Is…

The Single Biggest Interviewing Turn Off for Top Talent Is…


An easy interview.

By this, I don’t mean one that went well, I mean one that didn’t make them sweat.

Top Talent Wants Challenge

Think about it. Top talent doesn’t just move jobs, they want a new challenge. And the judgement on whether a role is right for them, can often come down to the interview process. How will they see you – as a potential employer – as potentially challenging enough for you, if you don’t give them a (little) bit of a hard-time at interview?

Top Talent Knows Where They Can Add Value

They don’t usually like BAU. Top talent wants something to get their teeth stuck in to. They will be eager to see where their potential development points are. This doesn’t mean you need to give this to them on a plate, make them prove it. Give them a case study, or talk them through a business problem and ask them what they would do.

Top Talent Wants a Career Path

A more obvious one, but with a slight nuance. This isn’t about false promises. If they think you, as their boss, don’t ‘have a plan’, then they may see nowhere to advance. It’s important to communicate how you see the development of your team as a whole, including your own path, to ensure that you, truly, are focused on real career development.

Top Talent Needs to Feel Uncomfortable

No need for trick questions, but you do need to push them outside of their comfort zone. This can be achieved in a non-confrontational way by just pushing them on technical questions, sitting down with HR to prepare a list of questions related to your priority competencies, or asking them to prepare a short presentation on an initial 30-day plan.

The critical thing here is that you don’t give them an easy ride. Of course, you can still build rapport, and yes, of course, you can keep it light, but keep it to the point. Ensure you question, challenge and really present your best side. Much like a Board meeting, you need to ‘wow’ to get the best results. Focus on your leadership pitch, gravitas and ability to build a sense of purpose. And don’t, whatever you do, give them the job after the first interview!

Good luck!



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