May 15, 2019

Making the Most of Your Interview

By ThinkingAhead

When it comes hiring and the interviewing process, there is a lot of talk about acquiring good talent and retaining good talent. Unfortunately, one of the challenges is that the interviewing PROCESS is often outdated. Hiring managers are sometimes asking the same questions that don’t always allow them to find out of the candidate is actually the right fit. Did you know that time to hire has increased from 3-4 weeks a few years ago to 6-8 weeks today? Ineffective interview processes. This means that this outdated and ineffective process is costing the industry time, energy, money, and reputation due to increased turnover. If these are the facts, then why are interviews still being conducted the same way?  So let’s talk about the must do’s and must NOT do’s of the process to help you make the most of your interview.

So, let’s start with the basics.  In your time with a candidate, you are usually trying to figure out 2-3 very basic things.  One, what is their skill set and is it applicable to your need (not the job necessarily, but the need.)  Do they have today what we need to solve the problem created with this opening? In one year from now, will I be happy to have them on the team?

Second, will they fit within our culture? This is not what you wish your culture was, but what it really is as it stands today.  In a year from now, will this person be a part of the culture or stand out like a sore thumb?

If these are our core questions, let’s review how we normally ask, and then we will share the “new and improved” ways to get the information we really need.

Here a few traditional questions that we need to STOP asking:

  1. “From a compensation standpoint, what are you looking for in your next role?” Talent today, especially top talent, does not make moves for money. You will not get an honest answer. Money is only part of the picture.
  2. “Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?” The honest answer to this question is who knows! When asked this question the answer will be what they think you want to hear or what they think they want based on the limited knowledge of their future.
  3. “Why are you looking” Most recruited candidates are not looking but they are there for a reason and we have to uncover why by asking strategic questions and actively listening.

While these questions seem harmless and like they might help us understand what we need, they fall flat.  There is too much room for interpretation and we don’t really understand the skill set the candidates possess or how well they will do on our team. 

Now that we have reviewed the ineffective traditional questions, let’s dive in and learn better questions to ask:

  1. “Other than money, what criteria is important to you when you consider your next professional move?” The key is you have to listen to what they are saying and understand what their motivation is. When you listen you can ask follow up questions that are helpful on deciding if they are the right candidate.
  2. “You mentioned earlier you were looking for a good leader/boss/mentor. Tell me why that is important to you and what they would be like from your perspective?”
  3. “You mentioned an opportunity for impact, would you expand on that for me? Help me understand.” Asking this questions will help you decide the candidate is a right fit for your company as well as show that you are interested in getting to know what they are looking for.

When we are REALLY listening to what people say, you will start to understand them. You will see their passions and frustrations as well as what is deeply motivating them. This allows you to take a step back and decide, would our current opening/position/environment be a match? If yes, then it is a great hire and if not, then you know.