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Hiring is Not Easy -- Interviewing Techniques to Improve Your Success


11/16/2010 2:02:40 PM

By Dr. Rick Johnson

Interview Objectives

The first thing we need to establish before we go through any interviews are the objectives of the selection process. Interviewing should not be just about filling an open position. Anytime you have an opening to hire someone, you have an opportunity to build

bench strength, organizational effectiveness and the opportunity to introduce fresh ideas and new insights into the organization and it doesn’t matter what level in the hierarchy the opening exists in. Consider the following key objectives of the selection process.

1.Filling the immediate opening with an individual with the required skill sets.

2.Building a talent pool for future job openings at higher levels in the organization. Promotion from within is a building block for unity, cohesiveness and validation of respect for employees. Make sure you select the best based on not only current skill sets but also based on future potential for individual growth.

3.A cultural fit. Developing or maintaining a specific cultural identity should be a consideration. Teamwork and camaraderie is essential to success. Personality profiling can help you determine if the job candidate will “fit in” to your organization. Peer interviews of final candidates can also prove beneficial.

Consider the “Team Interview” Approach

When a job opening occurs, this is an opportunity to do a job function analysis to determine if the current scope of authority and responsibility are in alignment with departmental and corporate objectives. A hiring team made up of the departmental supervisor, a Human Resources (HR) representative, and another departmental manager that has a stake in the functions that are performed by this particular job injects balance and insight into the hiring process... Of course, HR does all the initial screening of candidates based on the qualifications and skill sets outlined by the manager that the candidate will report to. It is very possible that these job requirements have changed based on the job function analysis. In fact, I have seen cases where the entire job has changed and even the person the job candidate reports to can change.

Now, Let’s Face Reality

Hiring the right individual, with the right skill set, that has the right attitude and the right personality to fit in can be one of the most challenging endeavors any manager will ever face. Leveraging your chance of success by using the team approach, profile testing and seriously checking references helps. But, if you have several qualified candidates it’s still like flipping a coin. You just can’t be positive about your choice until you see the individual in action. Sometimes it takes months, even years to see the real person you hired whether it’s really good or really bad. Finding the really bad ones months after you have hired them can be extremely expensive.

Face it. What you are trying to accomplish in the selection process is to predict the way an individual will behave in the future in your environment working for a specific manager. The question that needs to be answered is ---- “How will this candidate perform on X job in department Y at your company.

Obviously, you can not predict the future behavior of any individual regardless of the testing, the interviews or the reference checking with a high degree of accuracy. No one can. However, if you study the environment that the individual will be working under, you have leader’s not just managers in your organization that understand the concept of coaching and mentoring and if you have done your homework on the individual candidate, then your odds of success improve dramatically.

By the way, nobody ever provides a reference on a resume from someone that isn’t going to sing glowing praises about them. If you really want more realistic references, call the candidates former employers and just ask to talk to someone in the department that the candidate worked in. You may even be able to get some names while you are interviewing the candidate through casual conversation.

Remember, prediction of candidates probable future behavior can be based on the assumption that people tend to behave consistently under similar circumstances. Knowledge of present and past behavior is derived by asking the right questions during an interview and doing thorough and complete reference and back ground checks.

The Four Key Principles of a Successful Interview Process

1.Know everything possible about the job requirement that need to be filled. Don’t depend solely on a written job description. Define the requirements for both good performance and exceptional performance. Try to anticipate the leadership skills required regardless of the level of responsibility of the position.

2.Do your homework. Find out as much as possible about your final candidates. Check references (Including some not listed by the candidate), do a back ground check, analyze the data on the application and the resume and collect as much data during the interviewing process as possible. Using the team approach for separate interviews allows you to collaborate and compare answers and opinions.

3.Match the candidate’s skills/qualifications to the job requirements and evaluate his future development potential. This process should utilize structured questions to solicit and evaluate the candidate’s level of skills that match the skill requirements of the particular job.

4.Make your decision based on the evaluation of all the data as well as the collaboration between the individual interviewers.

E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com for sample job descriptions or a sample interview guide that provides the following:

• What an interview team should know about job requirements
• What an interviewer should try to discover during an interview
• A basic understanding of the interview process including
- Interview objectives
- Conducting the interview
- Sample thought provoking questions
• Evaluating the candidate using the data collected
• Pre-interview question guide. A list of both legal and illegal questions to help you avoid problem areas. (Note—this is not a comprehensive list and it is not intended to give legal advice)

www.ceostrategist.com – Sign up to receive “The Howl” a free monthly newsletter that addresses real world industry issues. – Straight talk about today’s issues. Rick Johnson, expert speaker, wholesale distribution’s “Leadership Strategist”, founder of CEO Strategist, LLC a firm that helps clients create and maintain competitive advantage. Need a speaker for your next event, E-mail rick@ceostrategist.com. Don’t forget to check out the Lead Wolf Series that can help you put more profit into your business.

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