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One Tip to Improve Your Interview Process
We realized during our most recent project to create better interview questions there was one common theme. If you the interviewer do just one thing differently you will improve your odds of selecting a top producer the first time around greatly.
Have you ever asked a question to a candidate and received a lengthy interesting and well-crafted response? Most of us have an immediate emotional reaction in that situation. It usual feels warm, happy, and excited about the potential of this person joining our team. I have and many other interviewers have found themselves off balance with a warm fuzzy feeling about their candidate. What did we miss? One simple concept the FOLLOW UP question! I don’t care how great the candidates answer was, in fact the better the answer the more important you ask an even better follow up question. Candidates are trained and practice 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, how do you 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? We want to know more about how they think about tackling difficult tasks, are they methodical, impulsive or maybe they no clue how they did what they did!
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.
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 process or are they just following a script.
You will be amazed the facts you will uncover when you persist with great follow up questions. More often or 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, they will 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 just ask WHY? …Three times!
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