Great interviews do wonderful things for a company and the candidates involved. The purpose of an interview is to: 1. Make sure a candidate can do the job in question, and 2. Fit into the culture. When these two criteria are met a match is made. Why companies complicate the process is a mystery. If your company has more than 10% turnover there’s a hiring problem.
If a company has defined systems they need employees to follow with a religious zealousness, don’t hire people who like to think and solve problems. Hire folks who are willing to follow your rules and be happy doing so. Don’t utilize panel interviews and implement behavioral techniques for positions that require basic skill sets a good percentage of the population possess.
If your cookie-cutter process fails to limit the revolving door of turnover, it’s time to get real.
What’s needed for a good interview is common sense and thoughtful preparation. Why does someone need good communication skills if they work alone 90% of the time? Will you hire a talented techno geek or a social butterfly for the position? Who will get the job done on time and without mistakes? The social butterfly will probably interview well and score high on likability. You’re not hiring a new friend; you’re filling a position.
Think backwards and forwards about who the candidate will work with on a daily basis and what kind of thinker is best suited for the position. What skill sets is the company prepared to enhance to help the right candidate achieve an outstanding performance?
Too many companies look for clones when we all know inbreeding is not healthy long term. If some tech people need better communication skills so what? Hire the best person for the job, identify areas that need improvement, and provide training. Basic training in communication is good for everyone and cheap.
Speak with the hiring manager and find out her managing style and what kind of employee responds well to her style. If her style is the problem, let her know. Does your company ask for feedback from employees on how management is doing and what they could improve?
The secret to a great interview is to make a genuine connection with the applicant. Is that so hard? Smile, offer a firm handshake, describe what will take place during your time together, and what the candidate can expect at the end of the interviewing process.
1. Ask questions that reveal whether the person can do the job. Dig deeper if answers seem superficial. Get specific.
2. Ask questions about the candidate’s views on life, work, their role in an organization, immediate goals and long term goals.
3. The candidate should do 80% of the talking, so establish rapport and make them comfortable. 30 – 45 minutes is plenty of time to understand if the candidate has the basic skill sets required, and assess their basic outlook on life and personality. Ask point blank questions if the candidate is skirting the issue.
Prepare questions ahead of time. Many HR departments have an ivory tower image. Often they’re perceived as drones who don’t care about anyone but themselves. They’re seen as marching as many bodies through the mill as possible to meet their own objectives. When the attitude is resumes matter, not people, you're in trouble. ersumes are worthless in defining a person’s character and ability.
Maybe the metric to evaluate HR performance should be based on the longevity and expertise of new hires. What gets measured gets noticed and results follow. All departments should provide feedback to HR on their ability to assist department heads with hiring high caliber talent. If turnover at your company is greater than 10% truly there’s room for improvement.
The truth is most hiring practices are inadequate. Poor matches create unhappy employees who are less productive. Poor hiring practices produce turnover. Everyone loses when the wrong person is hired for the job. Find the best person, not the most available one.
Great hires start with a great interview. Let the candidate know what will happen after they leave. They should feel great about you and your company even if they don’t get the job. Treating people respectfully builds a true positive brand. It’s also the right thing to do.
by Kimberly Schenk,
I train recruiters and companies on how to hire the best candidates.