Finding an excellent employee for a company can be a tricky endeavor. Finding an excellent boss for a company is even more difficult. That is exactly what Roger Duguay is doing. Duguay is a partner at Boyden, one of the top headhunting firms for top management. He has conducted countless interviews with potential bosses. His approach has proven so successful that Boyden’s CEO recently named him head of global CEO and board member search.
Duguay’s approach: He wants to break away from the traditional interview. And although he is mainly looking for managers, you can also use his tips for your application. Because he says: “If someone has done a good job in the past five or ten years, that doesn’t tell me that he or she will still do a good job in two years.” Because business areas change again and again and ever faster , he doesn’t necessarily look for those with the most experience. He wants applicants who can adapt and are curious.
In his career as a headhunter, Boyden has found more than 100 people a job in upper management, in the management or on the board of directors of private and listed companies. (He estimates he’s been in contact with more than 1,000 applicants.) When looking for a manager, he usually does two-hour interviews. He shared some of his favorite questions with NewsABC.net.
“Tell me about your private life.”
Duguay doesn’t usually ask applicants directly, but he still wants to know what they’re up to outside of the office. He wants to find out what they do on the weekend or which books they like to read.
“I will ask a lot of questions that tell me more about the person behind the role,” he said. “I don’t want to know where you worked and which university you were at.” Because if Duguay decides to get in touch with someone, he or she has the necessary hard skills and requirements for the job anyway.
“If you could go back again, is there anything you would have done differently in the past five years?”
“If someone cannot tell me five or ten mistakes from the past five years when applying, then something is wrong,” says Duguay.
He likes to call these mistakes “scars” and wants to know whether the potential manager is transparent about their mistakes – and what they have learned from them.
“On a scale from 1 to 10: To what extent are you already the person you would like to be?”
While a management position always requires self-confidence, Duguay also looks for applicants who are humble and able to work with the board and give up responsibilities.
When he asked this question to one of his idols, the Buddhist monk and Dalai Lama confidante Matthieu Ricard, he is said to have replied: “Oh, maybe four out of ten.” That showed Duguay once more that applicants who put themselves a nine give, should not be taken seriously.
“Tell me why I shouldn’t fill you in this position”
Duguay is saving that question for last. He catches many solid applicants ice cold.
“I can then see in their eyes that they are wrestling with themselves whether they should be honest with me and really tell me their weaknesses. They’re afraid I’ll put this on the cons list. That’s why they want to evade. “
Of course, after such a question, he doesn’t want an answer like: “My biggest flaw is that I work too hard” – half of the applicants would still give him such an answer. Duguay are looking for candidates who are self-reflective enough to allow a moment of weakness. Who do not believe that they have to fumigate themselves for two hours. He wants applicants who stand by what they are. Only then will he know whether they really fit into the company.
Also read: Application: 36 brilliant questions to ask at the end of an interview
“I think the key to a fulfilling life is being the same person at home and at work. Otherwise you are not authentic. You’re just trying to blind your colleagues, “said Duguay.
“I love these questions, and few people answer them correctly. Actually only those who know themselves well enough. “
This article appeared on NewsABC.net in November 2019. It has now been reviewed and updated.