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Capability, Connection, Chemistry And Culture

November 9, 2018

The secrets I am sharing with you are based on a blend of over 20 years of Recruitment and HR experience, with a heavy dab of candidate assessment mixed in. True candidate assessments are based on what I call the 4Cs - Capability, Connection, Chemistry and Culture. Understanding these could help you secure the job or opportunity you wish to pursue.


The key thing any company or organisation will look for will be whether you can do the job for which you are being interviewed. There are different ways of testing this - competency based interviews, work samples, assessment centres, portfolio reviews etc. - but every organisation will seek to test the individual to determine whether they have the skills, knowledge and experience to do the job.

More often than not, they will test for common competencies with most roles. These include communication, team working, leadership, adaptability, initiative, problem solving and analytical or critical thinking. Most interviews or assessments will look at each of these competencies and measure you against them, because they are the most common human traits that organisations need from their people.

Most hiring managers will look for a level of fit for the role - 80:20, 70:30, 60:40 - depending on the nature of the role and the current skills market. A forward thinking hiring manager will also see this as an opportunity for the individual to grow their skills and knowledge. It is therefore worth trying to understand what the level of fit is and then showcase all the additional things you could bring to the role that sit outside the job spec.


Any hiring manager is looking for someone who can communicate and is able to connect. This is not just about demonstrating communication as a competency or as part of the interview assessment, it is about being genuinely able to connect with the individual and the organisation. This is where they learn whether you are able to build an initial relationship, as well as credibility through direct discussion or interaction.

It is about being able to communicate in a manner they are comfortable with or that they can relate to but remember, the interview process is a two-way street and you should also feel comfortable with those you are speaking to as they are the ambassadors of the organisation. This also impacts on the final two points that you need to consider - chemistry and culture.


Chemistry is the next step in making the interviewer, assessor or hiring manager feel at ease with you. They will be looking to see whether you are someone that fits with the staff culture and who can build productive relationships. While connection is about being able to relate, communicate and respond to people, chemistry is about building trust, confidence and making them feel that you can be a true colleague.

Also, be aware that if you are able to create the chemistry but the role itself is not a good fit for you, the organisation may consider you for other roles or opportunities going forward. So, being able to build upon the connection and create chemistry is a vital strategy at interview.


Once the assessor or interviewer has determined that you are capable, can connect, and are someone with whom they have chemistry, they need to consider whether you would fit into the organisation itself. This could be the immediate team or department, but they may equally look to see whether you can fit with the wider culture and values of the organisation.

You should also take the opportunity to learn more for yourself about the organisation and its culture - do not be scared to ask questions as you need to feel comfortable with the working culture of the place if you are to consider any job offer.

About The Author

Giles O'Halloran is an experienced HR and Recruitment professional who works as a freelance consultant, strategist, writer and coach. He also spent 12 years as a reservist with the UK's Reserve Forces, serving first with the TA and later with the RAuxAF. Giles is passionate about technology, the value of networks and the future of work.


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