by Riley Kissel
Insight on Interviews from Stan Duncan, SVP, Westfield
People power boils down to one thing: potential. Just ask Stan Duncan Senior Executive Vice President of U.S. Human Resources and Global Head of Management for Westfield. Rome could always have been built with enough hands, but those hands needed a dream to follow and voices to guide them. In the 20-plus years that Stan Duncan has worked with human resources divisions in several multinational companies, heâs learned a thing or two about what makes a good job candidate. Heâs learned which specific resources are vital to those who are ultimately hired and, more importantly, which questions to ask those candidates.
Duncan says that itâs all about asking the candidate to tell you what they want, what they have done, what will make them successful and âwhy.â
According to Duncan, having a prospective employee reveal what they see as their own abilities and competence is a surefire way to not only get a raw understanding of their talents and pros and cons, but also to get an understanding of their ability to adapt and their potential to last in the long term. âWe arenât looking for super-humans; in my two decades as an HR executive, Iâve yet to meet one. We want people who are talented, but most importantly, willing to grow and change as the company grows and changes, too.â I believe people who know a lot about themselves do the best selling themselves in an interview. Basically, make sure youâre introducing yourself, presenting the real you in the interview.
Duncan is certainly not shy about his two decadesâ of experience as an interviewer. That was proven when he was asked what heâs learned about hiring the right people: âDoing this for 20 years certainly helps you see the big picture; itâs all about potential.â Duncan has been around long enough to see what works for the long-term and what only succeeds in the short term, and his reflections have resulted in him founding an HR model that prizes a prospective workerâs long-term potential over short-term spunk.
âWorking in human resources for companies that focus on everything from career apparel, managed services, aerospace glass manufacturing to chemical agent creation has allowed me to see what always stays the same despite the change in labor practices, techniques, and strategies. Human resources are universal in that HR personnel are always seeking out that potential for a long-term employee presence once theyâre hired. Thatâs because longevity in employment means a stronger, more developed team, which increases the likelihood that each member reaches their potential due to the longstanding support of one another.â
The beauty of Ancient Rome would never have been erected by unorganized stone cutters with no collective vision, no matter how many were hanging around looking for work, which demonstrates the power of potential. Without a guiding vision, the kind that an institution like Westfield has and HR leaders like Duncan possess, the potential of individual talent to serve something greater is often wasted. Asking the right questions and paying close attention as human resources workers is the only way to uncover that potential and make sure the talent stays around long enough to make an impact. After all, Rome wasnât built in a day, and your company wonât be, either. Let Stan Duncanâs success show you what can be accomplished in 20 years if you put your mind to it.
Riley Kissel is a freelance writer who covers many industries with style. You can find out more about him at RileyKissel.com
Thanks, Riley, for new insights on a critical topic.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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