Straight Answers to Real Questions
Answer: Every now and again you’re going to run into someone who zig-zags through their career, especially if you’re not that rigorous in your initial triaging of candidates. You may interview someone who’s spent a few years as someone’s Controller and then took a year off to learn Spanish in Venezuela. They came back to Canada and landed a gig as someone’s Director of Finance and then a couple of years later they took a six month sabbatical to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.
This is the kind of person I’d like to meet at a cocktail party, but it’s not my favorite flavour in an interview. People almost inevitably run true to form. If they have a history of capricious career moves, there’s no reason to believe that they’ve turned over a new leaf and will stay with your firm for the next five years regardless of how much they try to convince you that “it’s different now”.
These people will sound very credible in their explanations of their many moves because they’ve had lots of practice. And as well, the person who’s spent a year in Venezuela learning Spanish and has climbed Kilimanjaro is more than likely a pretty interesting person; you’re going to like them. But, don’t let that sway your judgement – they represent a real flight risk.