Good interviewing is arguably one of the more important pieces of qualifying the right candidates for your company. The reality is, most people aren’t trained interviewers, they don’t usually have a roadmap to follow, or they might google “interview questions” to figure out what they think they need to ask. This leads to more of the same results that the rest of the industry experiences; poor hires, high turnover, and ineffective interviews. Typical questions in an interview that can be answered with hypothetical answers are a very POOR indicator of high performance and give all kinds of power to the “professional interviewee.”
You need to watch out for those “professional job interviewees.” They are the candidates that have great answers to all your questions, seem upbeat, positive, and ready to take on the world – but their performance history does not match. They might have moved around to various companies and always have some explanation as to why they switched jobs (oftentimes this is legitimate but it is also a red flag that must be investigated). The truth is, it takes more than 6 months or a year at a position to even begin to see the productivity results that you want. Quite often, that’s when the employee leaves – because they talk a big game but can’t “live” up to their own hype.
I don’t want to sound all negative here – so I’m going to give you an interview strategy that is going to cut through the baloney and help you know more definitively if the person you are interviewing can actually be successful in the job.
1. It starts with you actually knowing the job.
You need to know it inside and out – or get someone on the interview team that does. You need to know the performance objectives for the position as well as the key behaviors, motivators, and personal skills that will make someone successful in the role. Every job and every company is different so using a general “catch all” job description will NOT work.
2. Ask them one question and then have them elaborate.
For example: “Right now we are working on project X. Can you tell me about a time where you did something similar?”
Let them sit with it for a minute and then begin to talk. That’s when you follow up with true performance indicators such as:
“What resources did you need?”
“What size team were you on?”
“What piece of the puzzle were you held accountable for?”
“Who did you need to partner with in the company to accomplish these goals?” …to name a few.
The great thing about this interview style is that it focuses on one project and allows the candidate to reveal to you what they have really done in the past. If they are used to being on a very large team with a lot of resources you might think twice about bringing them into your startup. You may want to ask followup questions to find out if they could fit into a bootstrapped environment.
Do you really want to ask the “what was your previous manager like” question now? I think not.
Stay tuned for more information on how to build your own performance based hiring model for your company. It will change your results for the better. If you have any questions we’d be happy to talk with you and point you in the right direction. Feel free to reach out anytime: firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our LinkedIn page to connect with our team.