Interviewing

Interview Prep Isn't Just For Job Applicants

Everyone knows the importance of being well-prepared for an interview with a potential employer. However, how much do YOU prepare before you are interviewing candidates for a new position in YOUR organization? There are several things you can do that will help to ensure that you have productive meetings with your candidates, and you can ensure that you are not exposing yourself to any unnecessary legal risk. 
 
Over the next several weeks, we will be reviewing some important elements of an effective interviewing process. Many of these reminders come from feedback from our candidates after returning from interviews. Just a few extra minutes on the front end and a few minor changes can help to ensure that you are putting your best foot forward and that you select a person who will be a great addition to your team.
 
We believe reading through these tips will be helpful as you grow, and you can always keep them on file to review again before your next search process begins.
 
Today's Interview Element: Determine WHO You Want To Hire
 
We know this sounds elementary. Of course, you have thought about the skills and experience you need for the open position in your company. However, there are some extra steps you can take that will make a huge difference in the success of your hiring efforts.

Write a good job description.  Having a specific and thorough outline of what a candidate will do on the job makes it easier to assess an applicant’s previous experience and skills and how they line up with what you need. Make sure you list your “must-haves” and your “nice-to-haves.” Some things are essential in order for a new employee to be able to hit the ground running while others can be trained.

Know the intangibles that you need/want.  As you have probably learned the hard way over the years, skills do not typically cause an employee to fail in a position. However, it is more typically issues related to work ethic, personality match, being a team player, etc. Ask yourself these questions, as the answers will lead to a great hire. 

  • “What makes a person successful in this role?”  
  • “What type of behaviors/ attitudes make a person a great member of my team?”  
  • “Who on my team would I like to clone and what is it about them that makes them so valuable to me?”

Write down some specific questions.  Based on your must-have skills/experience and the answers to your intangible questions, write down some specific questions that you will ask each candidate. It’s okay to move off-script and go with the flow of the conversation, of course. But by making sure you ask each candidate 10 or so of the same questions, it will make it a lot easier for you to do your evaluations once the interviews are over.
 
Behavioral Interviewing Questions are one of the best ways to get to those “intangibles” that you are looking for in your next hire.  Stay tuned for some easy ways to implement those in our next post!

Advice from a sage businessman

This is Alan Ketzes. Alan is a chair at Vistage International with the role of business coach to over 60 CEOs in the Metro Atlanta area. He thrives on bringing executives together through peer groups, giving one-on-one coaching, and has driven many executives and their businesses to new heights. 

In this 2 1/2 minute video, Alan offers a time-saving suggestion that he gives to his clients, and he believes this can help your business as well. We personally loved his answer and hopefully you will, too. Enjoy Alan Ketzes! 

https://youtu.be/rtwLe6pVsko

Selecting the Best Interview Questions

interviewing.png

I am often asked to suggest good interview strategies. What questions are the best? To help you make the most of the interview experience, consider using some of my favorite questions:

QUESTION: Tell me about a situation in a past job or organization where you encountered some conflict, and how did you address or handle it?

This question reveals these important indicators: 

  • This is a fairly complex question. Can the candidate recall a situation on the fly, and then provide a cohesive answer? Their response helps me understand if they can think on their feet, can handle something quickly, can determine a good answer, and then deliver a well-considered reply.  
  • How they have handled conflict in the past is a predictor of how they will handle it in the future. If they answer that it was all the fault of the other person, and the supervisor had to handle it, or the candidate simply left the company, that is probably not a good response. If their answer includes how they addressed the conflict directly with the person and talked it out with them, meeting halfway to handle the situation, that is the preferred response.
  • If they say they have never had a job with any conflict, that is a big red flag. This candidate is either not truthful or they can’t think on their feet.

QUESTION: At XYZ company, we value helping fellow employees and we are FOR each other. When in a previous position, have you been able to help a coworker get recognized for something they have done or help them achieve success?

Here’s what I am looking for here:

  • This is a good one to figure out if they are FOR other people or FOR themselves. To me, this is a significant factor in evaluating a candidate. If they can never remember a time that they helped a peer, then you don’t want them on your team.
  • This might give the candidate a glimpse into who you are as a future employer. They may not believe in this value. They may be such a self-centered driver that it is all about them. In this case, your environment would not be good for them, and they might self-select out. 

QUESTION: What is one thing that you would like to be better at in five years?

Look for these things:

  • I like someone to be self-aware. Do they know where their weaknesses are, and are they willing to share one with you?  If they answer this quickly, that’s a good indicator. If they don’t, that means that they haven’t thought about this lately and are not trying to self-improve. Ask me this question right now, and I have a list of five things in my head that I am trying to improve upon. That is what you would like to see.
  • I am looking for a humble employee. If they are open to share their developmental issues with you, then they are likely humble and this could signify a good candidate.  

Searching for more questions?  Here are 30 you may also want to consider.

When you work with Innovative Outsourcing, we provide you with the finest candidates. Work with us for your next open position. Our outreach identifies the best candidates, and then we use personality testing, phone screening, and in-person interviews to select the best two candidates for your review. Then, we schedule the interviews, and you simply ask some of these good questions.  It’s easy when you let us help!

Speed-hiring in today's job market

Does this hiring scenario sound familiar?

"Our company needs a part-time executive assistant:
        7 days = candidate search
        5 days = find time to act on this and conduct interviews
        5 days = waiting until CEO can meet top candidates
        2 days = discuss and decide, offer Candidate A the job

But Candidate A just accepted another job.  So we offer Candidate B the position, only to find that she has been snapped up by another company, as well. Almost three weeks have passed, and we are back to square-one in the hiring process."

Wait... wasn't it just yesterday that you and I were learning the technique of hire slow and fire fast?  Yes, I even spoke on that very topic to CEO groups when this was the “winning” equation. But it seems that times are changing.This is a CANDIDATE market.  

In many job categories, we are seeing a shortage of great candidates.  This means that to “win” the best ones, we all need to take a look at shortening our hiring timeline.  Never before has a "hurry-up offense" been such a determining factor in filling a vacancy with the very best person. USA Today recently reported, "Employers who took their sweet time making hiring decisions just a few years ago, are scrambling to snag candidates in as little as a day for fear of losing them to competitors in a tight labor market.” (Read that article. It's an eye-opener!)

What does it mean to quicken the pace of hiring? No, don't skip steps. You need to still run background checks, reference checks (in detail), do personality profiles, and hold multiple interviews.  But the time between these steps must be compressed. Here's how...