Job Seekers: Get Ready for the 'Character' Interview

As laid-off executives flood the labor pool, some employers are seizing the opportunity to "upgrade" their management teams, say executive recruiters. In this , employers realize they might be able to recruit more experienced leaders- -now than in the past, says Joe Goodwin, president of The Goodwin Group, an executive search firm based in Atlanta.

"There are a lot of very experienced, high-quality people who, through no fault of their own, got caught up in this economic tsunami," he says.

Companies are also looking for new executives with the right skills to lead them through the recession, says Dean Bare, managing director of executive search firm Stanton Chase International's Atlanta office.

"Employers today are asking themselves: Do I have the right talent set to take me through the next 18 months?" Bare says.

Because so many candidates are applying for a , employers can be choosey. They're screening many candidates, says Goodwin, and thus it's taking employers longer to make hiring decisions.

Employers aren't in a hurry, either. They're taking their sweet time to get to know a candidate's character, integrity and values, says Bare. Employers are still focused on making sure candidates have the right experience, of course, but that's only the beginning. Now employers are looking hard at a candidate's character to break ties among equally qualified candidates.