Why you need to take your interview with Resourcing seriously

Woman sitting down at an interview holding a CV

Many candidates think of their prospective interviewer as falling squarely into the line manager category – full of tough questions about the job. But they may well have to face a resourcing manager or in-house or on-site recruiter, who has a different perspective but still needs to be taken just as seriously. Here’s why and how… 

Professional interviewers can be broadly divided into two categories: line managers and resourcing.

Line managers tend to be experts in the role you’re interviewing for, and will ask questions of a technical or operational nature. Resourcing, on the other hand, will be looking at things like team chemistry and transferrable skills.

Because candidates tend to see an interview with a resourcing manager as less obviously a test of their expertise, conducted by someone who doesn’t know the intricacies of the role, they can be tempted to dismiss it as a bit of a formality or a box-ticking exercise. But there are good reasons to take the resourcing element of selection just as seriously, and to make sure you are prepared for both types of questioning.

Why resourcing interviews need to be taken seriously

In some companies, the meeting with Internal Resourcing takes place before the line manager’s interview. This means that they can act as a powerful influence on the next round. Line managers may well look to their resourcing colleague to help them decide between candidates with similar experience and expertise. In such a situation, other aspects of what you offer – such as your potential to integrate with a team, or how well you might fit in with the company’s culture and values – could suddenly become significant. 

The line manager will want to drill straight down into the detail of the work, but with a resourcing manager or recruitment partner you can expect more of a focus on soft and transferrable skills

Also, of course, any formal conversation with a representative of an organisation that you’d like to work for should be treated with care and respect, as you simply don’t know how that conversation will be reported and made use of internally.

“Some people don’t take the resourcing element as seriously as they should,” warns Emma Tunney, who recruits on behalf of a retail and commercial bank in the UK. “But in some organisations where the recruiter is really embedded in the business and takes a very hands-on approach, they can potentially have a power of veto on chemistry grounds over a candidate who is otherwise technically competent.”

Prepare for two different styles of questions

“Interviews with Resourcing tend to be more driven by company values, while interviews with line managers are more operationally and skills focused,” says Sarah Alger, Team Leader on the Internal Resourcing team at Resource Solutions. “So, you need to take care to tailor your answers accordingly.”

Think of the line manager as someone who used to do your job, and now manages his or her successors. “When you meet with a line manager, they know the ins and outs of the actual role. They’re more about the detail, more process-driven,” says Sarah. “A resourcing manager or internal recruiter, on the other hand, will ask questions about your position in the wider context of the company as a whole:

  • Will you support and nurture its values?
  • Do you have the potential to develop yourself and eventually others too?
  • Are you likely to be happy with the sort of package on offer?

While the line manager wants to know if you can do the job, the resourcing manager wants to know what you’re like. “The line manager will want to drill straight down into the detail of the work, but with a resourcing manager or recruitment partner you can expect more of a focus on soft and transferrable skills,” advises Emma Hall, Internal Recruitment Consultant placing recruitment professionals in the North of England. So, be prepared for a lot more questions like:

  • Why are you interested in our organisation?
  • How much do you know about the company?
  • What skills can you bring?

Candidates in resourcing interviews are also likely to be asked competency-based questions using the STAR technique, such as: “Tell us about a time when you experienced conflict at work and how you dealt with it”. These can sometimes trip people up because they can’t be answered in a simple formulaic way, but you can at least try and anticipate likely scenarios that you might be asked about.

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