I personally find the interview process absolutely fascinating and that is probably a good thing since I work in recruitment. I love looking at the various dynamics that can influence an outcome for hiring managers and the types of things that often go wrong in interviews. I am particularly fascinated at trying to get behind what actually makes a candidate a good fit for the role as opposed to evaluating candidates based on how well they perform in a 40 – 60 minute time frame.
Often, the depth of an interview and the quality of questions asked will play a key role in helping you to evaluate not necessarily who is the strongest candidate for the role but who is going to be the best fit for the role.
Following are a few ideas to think about when interviewing candidates:
1. Define what the top three technical and behavioral competencies are to perform effectively in the role and develop a list of effective questions to assess candidates against those competencies. I often see a misalignment with the types of questions candidates are asked in an interview relevant to the skills required to perform effectively in the role. For example, if a position involves strong attention to detail, a solid understanding of IFRS and requires someone to work autonomously, is it really necessary to spend a lot of time evaluating a candidate’s interpersonal and stakeholder management skills?
2. Be transparent about the benefits and disadvantages of working for both the business and in the role. Although it is easy to get caught in the trap of sugar coating all the positive elements to maximize securing the person you want, it is far more effective to be transparent to ensure they are later able to make an informed decision should they secure the role. This will help maximize their time in the business and reduces the risk of someone pulling the pin on you.
3. Ensure you ask as many open ended questions as you can to help get the candidate talking. These questions should be developed across key elements you want to explore.
Some questions you can integrate into the interview are:
Can you tell us about your current business and the nature of the reporting relationships?
How have you been able to demonstrate value in the role?
You have a lot of info on your resume describing your role. In what areas do you spend the majority of your time month to month?
How would you describe the relationship with your manager and team?
What type of management style do you work best under?
What has been the most challenging aspect of your position and why?
What role do you think has been the capstone of your career?
What are you looking to do with your career moving forward?
What feedback was communicated to you by management in your performance reviews?
How would people in your team describe you?
What are the top three personal attributes you will be bringing to the team?
4. If you have any concerns or hesitations about a candidate’s suitability, address them directly with the candidate to measure their response. In many instances, you will find your concerns are validated but you may also realize the concern is entirely irrelevant based on their particular situation. A few weeks ago, a candidate of ours was turned down for a role as there were concerns he was somewhat laid back and would not be strong enough to manage some prickly personalities. Talking to previous line managers and team members quickly revealed that being laid back was actually one of his key strengths and actually allowed him to manage difficult personalities extremely effectively.