The Power of Asking Questions
Brad Remillard is a consultant in the recruiting industry that speaks about best hiring practices, among other topics. Part of his advice in his “You’re Not the Person I Hired” workshop relates to how to conduct a thorough interview. He points out that the majority of managers are put in hiring positions with very little training or experience (if any) in conducting an interview. It seems like such a natural and straightforward process – after screening resumes, you sit down and have conversations with qualified candidates in order to get to know them and their experience to determine whether they may be a good fit for your company. But if the process is so straightforward, why is it that hiring managers make so many bad hires? Some would argue that there are things you just can’t tell about a person during an interview – and that is definitely true to a certain extent. However, there are ways to cut through the game of a candidate simply “telling a hiring manager what they want to hear” in order to really get to the core and uncover whether or not someone is going to be the right fit.
It all starts with an understanding of what is required of the role you are trying to fill, and then asking quality questions. If you’ve determined that a role requires a person who is detail-oriented and organized, don’t just ask the candidate if they are detail-oriented and organized – what candidate isn’t going to say, “yes” to a question like that? Instead, ask them to give you an example of a time when they were detail-oriented and organized that they believe greatly contributed to the success of a project. The idea is to hear them describe what it means to them to have a certain characteristic or skills set and compare that to your idea of the same, and how that would relate to the open role in your organization. For example, a salesperson might suggest that they thrive in fast-paced environments, and their example for that is successfully calling 80 people a day. Maybe in your company the norm is 200 calls per day – more than double what they are used to. In that case, you can immediately tell that your definitions of a “fast-paced environment” are not aligned, and you can use that misalignment to predict that this candidate may drown trying to meet your company’s standards.
It sounds so simple and intuitive, but it takes practice to become an expert at conducting interviews. It is definitely worth the time and effort because it will pay off tremendously through the strong hires you will make along the way.
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