Finding the Right Candidate for the Job, with Cyprus’ Top Recruiter Katerina Andreou, Founder of HR Innovate

As an international headhunter, Katerina Andreou has become an expert in picking the right candidates for the right jobs.

The secret, she says, is to ask potential candidates pertinent questions during the interview.

Her formula has proven so successful that her Nicosia-based recruitment agency HR Innovate, which she launched in 2016, now boasts clients across Cyprus and throughout Europe and the Middle East.
Through a Q&A exchange, we asked Katerina, a keen runner, ardent traveller, and thriving entrepreneur, to reveal how she assesses potential candidates for vacant posts at the companies on her books.

Q. What are your top 3 favourite questions to ask in an interview?

A. I prefer to ask evidence-based questions and encourage candidates to talk about their real-life experiences rather than getting them to answer vague, random questions such as ‘where do you want to be in 5 years?’ Instead, I prefer questions like:

1. Can you tell me about the first time that you had to deal with a crisis at work? Describe the steps you took and how this made you feel.
2. Can you describe for me the top qualities of the most outstanding manager you have encountered and your main takeaway from the experience of working with her or him?
3. Can you describe what it is about this position that attracts you the most?

Q. Why are these questions so effective?

A. They encourage people to showcase their talents and talk open-endedly about their work experiences, as opposed to giving short, one-word answers.
They’re also the kinds of questions that not only stimulate good conversation (which is what a good interview should be) but also allow the interviewer to get a feel for the candidate’s thinking and how solution-focused and positive they are.

Q. What 3 key questions would you like applicants to ask you?

A. I would be happy if they asked the following questions:
What are the core values of your company?
What is it about my profile that encouraged you to interview me?
What do you love most about working here? (Or, if it’s a company founder doing the interviewing: What was the impetus for you to create this firm?)

Q. What makes Cyprus’s talent pool stand out?

A. A very high number of university graduates, one of the highest in the EU, and a great deal of tech talent.
The graduates are adaptable, resilient professionals who have studied in some of the finest institutions in the world. Although they have worked in international environments, a super high number of them repatriate and bring their talent and experience home. This is a huge boon for our little island.

Q. What are companies in Cyprus doing to attract and retain talent?

A. Everything and anything — much like the rest of the world!
Market rates for salaries have gone up, employers are offering more benefits, and most — but sadly not all — have realised how important it is to brand their companies as being responsible employers.

So, working conditions generally are on the up, but not in all sectors. More and more employers are offering hybrid and remote working as perks. This is greatly valued by candidates.

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