➢ Interviewing Talent – 10 Tips

yesnoRecent client experience compelled me to put together the following tips to help with interviewing. There might be an idea or two here you can use. Consider these 10 points in evaluating talent:

READ THE RESUME BEFOREHAND – Write strikes you? What isn’t there that you want to know about? Are results quantified, and does it show clearly the difference this individual made to the organization? How well is it written?

SET THE STAGE – Interviewing at its best is nothing more than a candid back and forth conversation, with the insertion of questions to point the discussion in the direction of the information you need. Encourage questions from the candidate at any time, and be prepared to discuss shortcomings of the company and maybe even yourself, if you expect the same in return. At all costs, it is your responsibility to make it OK for the candidate to be candid with you. He or she needs to know that there are no deal killing answers. If you start getting scripted responses, call time out and ask for straight information and promise the same. If an answer is not forthcoming, ask again until it is.

BE CLEAR AND BE SPECIFIC ON WHAT YOU WANT TO KNOW. Don’t finish the interview with any questions left unanswered.

ASK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF WORK TO THE CANDIDATE. Why does he/she work? Is it passion, a paycheck, work ethic, necessary evil?

FIND OUT WHO THE CANDIDATE IS OFF THE JOB. You need to know who he or she is. What strong personal beliefs does he hold, what does he do with his spare time, how does he order his personal priorities. What is important besides work? What are his thoughts on work/life/family balance? Where did he grow up and what was his early life like? Spending a few minutes on his personal life can sometimes get you information you can’t ask about directly, like political and religious leanings, but which if volunteered can be useful in understanding the whole person.

ASK ABOUT HIS/HER MANAGEMENT STYLE. How does he get things done through other people? Be careful not to lead with suggestions. Just see what he has to say. Look for evidence of teaming and collaboration. and genuine caring for his people, with directive style reserved for last resort. Ask how he leads, motivates, inspires, shares vision.

WHO ARE THE KEY MANAGERS HE HAS HIRED AND WHAT ARE THEIR BACKGROUNDS? Get specifics on companies, education and track records. Would you have hired those people? Are they outstanding and the best available? There can be some big surprises here.

WHAT DOESN’T HE DO WELL? To get straight answers to this question, you sometimes have to explain that we all have strengths and weaknesses, and that strong managers know their weaknesses very well. Ask how he compensates for them?

HOW ARE HIS THOUGHT PROCESSES? Are his responses crisp and succinct, yet complete answers to your questions? Is he perceptive? Does he ramble or get off on tangents. Does he answer a different questions than the one you asked?

IS HE PERSONABLE, DO YOU LIKE HIM AND IS HE REAL? This is the Genuine Test. Nobody likes pat answers and nobody believes them. The strongest candidates will give you a straight answer and let the chips fall where they will. They want to be hired for who they are, not who they can convince you they are. Is he upbeat? Pessimists generally find what they focus on.