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The Product of our People: CEO Alan McLenaghan on Finding the Right Candidate

by: SageGlass

Jun. 28, 2016

Although SageGlass is a high-tech, state-of-the-art product, the success of our company to date would not have been possible without the hard work, dedication and enthusiasm of our team members. As the dynamic glass industry grows into new sectors as well as internationally, it is more important than ever to make sure we have the right people on our team; people who are passionate about our product and who have high levels of personal integrity and respect for others.

We believe that our interview process is different from the process used by many companies. At SageGlass, we make every effort to bring the candidate to our headquarters for their interview. This not only prevents dragging the interview out to a second or third round, but also gives our candidates the opportunity to experience a SageGlass installation, “feel” the atmosphere of our company and meet as many team members as possible. Further, I personally meet and sit with candidates on the same day as the rest of the team so candidates are not “pre-screened” for me (other than a standard pre-screen telephone interview with our HR department). This means that my team and I need to come together at the end of the day and make a fairly quick decision based on the interviews we have conducted. In other words, a candidate meeting with me has not already gone through a gauntlet of prior interviews before we sit down together. We think this is an egalitarian approach which is consistent with our approach to business – be respectful, thorough and make decisions rapidly.

A big part of my role in the recruiting process is to represent the face of the company and to explain and discuss the company’s core values and principles of conduct – and by company I not only mean SageGlass, but the greater Saint-Gobain parent company, because a person looking to join SageGlass is actually looking to join Saint-Gobain. When I am with a candidate, I am looking for character and integrity as much as technical skills and I want the candidate to have the opportunity to challenge me on any aspect of our business: current performance, strategy, policies, values – anything!

Interestingly, many employers often solely rely on what they hear during the interview process as well as the content of a candidate’s resume and background to determine whether or not he or she is a strong fit for the position. I prefer to handle the recruiting process in a slightly different manner.

I look to the candidate to decide if this is a position he/she would be a strong fit for. I believe it is important for a prospective member of our team to make this decision on his/her own because I want to ensure the individual is passionate about the position and is convinced that this is the right opportunity and the right company for him/her.    

Following this theme of honesty and openness, I encourage all potential candidates to ask questions and challenge me about the company in order to ensure that they understand the type of companies SageGlass and Saint-Gobain are as well as their key customers, partners and suppliers. I genuinely want to see what the candidate is looking for from his/her next position as well as the working environment he/she would like to be a part of. I think it is important to see how far the candidate is willing to probe. Sadly at times, it can be disappointing to see how little candidates have learned about our company even though they claim it is their “dream” opportunity.

As they prepare for their visit to our offices, I expect candidates to spend time researching the company and to come prepared with questions. Based on the questions asked and how much research the candidate has done, I believe that I have a pretty good indication of what they are like and how thorough they are. If he/she is not going to put a lot of research effort into this fundamental life change, he/she is probably not going to put too much effort into the tasks our team needs them to own.

Although we realize the interview process can be stressful for the candidate (and sometimes for us as well), I pretty much end interviews the same way. I say, “You need to make the decision that’s right for you. Here’s my personal cell phone number. If there’s anything else I can do to help you, please call me anytime and I will answer. If you don’t call me and then I learn you had some unanswered questions, then that’s your fault.”  (But I usually say it with a smile.)