Executive search: A senior candidate's view

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CET UK's MD Peter Eglinton describes his experience of the interview process at senior level

“I have been through a comprehensive interview process for each of the managing director roles I’ve held over my last 10 years in senior-level positions. This has always involved numerous interviews and comprehensive tests including Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Occupational Personality Questionnaire, right through to verbal, numerical and abstract reasoning tests.

“For my recent appointment at £200 million-turnover, 250-staff construction and insurance services supplier CET UK, the selection process was just as comprehensive as for roles at larger companies. The beginning of the process was quite typical, starting with conversations with the CEO, CFO and senior team, as well as David Williams, partner of UK mid-market private equity firm Dunedin, which backs CET. This gave me a better understanding of the role and the business, and I was also given a site tour.

“It was the next phase that was more thorough and started with two online assessments: Talent Q and Hogan HDS. I was then introduced to business psychologist Sandra Aldridge, who interviewed me comprehensively for three hours, exploring both business and personal drivers. This was followed by a two-hour online test, which required me to interpret complex domino patterns to evaluate my decision-making skills and style.

“Feedback came in the form of a detailed report that we discussed face-to-face. Having been through the process a number of times there were not too many shocks in what was revealed. And I believe it is only through this type of process that you gain enough information on a candidate. After being appointed I worked with Sandra and CET’s CEO to develop an induction plan using the data collected.

“While this kind of selection process might seem overly in-depth, it is vital in appointing the right person, both in terms of ability and fit. This is even more critical for smaller companies. CET in particular prides itself on its culture, so selecting the right candidate not only based on their skills but also personality was crucial. Any data that can inform this decision has got to be a good thing.”

Peter Eglinton is group managing director of CET UK

Further reading

Executive search: Balancing science and art

Exec search is an important art form

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