If you just do ONE thing differently in your next interview, you can improve your odds of selecting a top producer the first time around greatly.
Have you ever asked your candidate a question and received a lengthy, interesting and well-crafted response? Most of us have an immediate emotional reaction in that situation. It usually feels warm, happy, and excited about the potential of this person joining our team. But those warm, fuzzy feelings can leave you a little off balance about a candidate too. What’s missing then?
The FOLLOW UP question!
It doesn’t matter how great the candidate’s answer was. In fact, the better the answer, the more important the follow up question should be. Candidates are trained and well-practiced at delivering excellent answers to tough questions. This is how great interviewees with mediocre talents get jobs and fill our businesses with nice people who don’t get things done.
How do you get the truth out of a candidate and sort through the cloud of smoke to find the real person? Ask really good follow up questions.
Let’s discuss an example. The candidate is discussing an experience where they completed a big project on time and under budget. Pretty impressive right? Well did this person actually drive the process? Were they even the person specifically responsible for the results produced? How did they accomplish this?
Try asking a few follow up questions like:
“What was your approach to this project that created this outcome?”
“Who was on your team and what was each person’s role?”
“Who contributed the most?”
We want to know if this person a lone wolf or do they have the ability to bring people together to get things done? We want to know more about how they think about tackling difficult tasks, if they’re methodical, impulsive or maybe they don’t even have a clue how they did what they did!
“What challenges did you face when accomplishing this task?”
“What did you learn from those challenges?”
Does this person have the ability to adjust behavior, learn from mistakes and find ways to improve processes or are they just following a script?
You will be amazed at the facts you will uncover when you persist with great follow up questions. More often than not, you will uncover some information that will indicate this person is just OK and is not the superstar they are representing themselves as. Great candidates will provide excellent details about how they accomplished a task and have a deep understanding about what it takes to get things done well. A good rule of thumb is to ask at least three follow up questions for each topic you discuss.
If you ask just one question, make sure it’s “WHY?” and ask it three times!