Interviewing Effectively

Those of us who successfully interview and assess candidates  everyday are results driven, effective and manage to keep it as simple as possible. After all, we are not Maslow, Freud nor Jung. I suspect they may have been subject to hiring misfires themselves!

How I start each search:

I start each search by asking this question; “A year from now, what will the employee need to accomplish to be considered a great hire?”

Only when I truly know the answer to this question, can I  competetly begin a search !

Then I look for a person who I am confident will accomplish this.   Experience has taught me to explore 4 areas when assessing potential candidates.

1) Experience :

– Have or are they doing this successfully?

– What is, (was), their role?

– Do they have the required technical, educational background?

– Have they demonstrated the necessary talent to be successful for the position –leadership, managerial, sales, organization, etc?

Keep in mind, for some positions hiring for winning attitude can make up for years of experience.

2) Performance :

The best indicator of future performance is past performance. Again, keep it simple, what is the pattern of their career? Moving up? Moving down? Hit plateau 10 years ago?

We look for a demonstrable record of accomplishments

– What did they do? Can candidate explain problem, opportunity?

– Their solution

– How did they implement solution? Their specific role?

– Hurdles, challenges?
- Results?
- What did they learn?

– Can they repeat this success in our position?

This series of questions will help you gauge true job performance. I tend not to trust resumes. It always amuses me when I see 3 or 4 resumes from the same company and each claims responsibility for the same project’s success!

3) Chemistry :

– Will candidate fit in with the corporate culture?

– Get along with the manager they will be reporting to?

– Get along with associates, subordinates, the team?

– If the position interacts with clients, what will your clients think about the candidate?

– What about pace of position? Fast, slow, how will candidate fit? Will tempo of the position frustrate candidate? Cause high anxiety? Or just about right? 

Trust your gut, it is probably right

4) Personality / Mindset:

We’re not talking more chemistry here, we are instead looking for a match of   candidate’s Personality / Mindset to the needs of the position.

Please see   “Personality / Mindset”  articles for more detailed   treatise.   Basically there are 3 types of personality/mindset needs, I look for a corresponding personality/mindset match   from the candidates.   You will not find this information in their resumes, in fairness candidates will not find it in your job description either!

The 3 types of personality/mindsets are:
“Status Quo” – this person will be very steady, not likely to shake things up, will probably get along well with most everyone.   Great fit for taking over a well-run department and keeping everything running smoothly. Will not “rock the boat”.

“Star”-   Needs to “move the needle”, “raise the bar”. These are high achievers who need to make things happen. Great fit is a position where the “Star” can accomplish large things like: increase sales,   production, bring in clients, reduce losses,etc.

“Hero” – Wants to take over a disaster and turn it around.   Think Carlos Ghosn or Lee Iacocca. “Heroes” are intrinsically challenged to make wholesale changes : fire people, hire others, sell off assets, buy other assets, (“Heroes” love this part).

TIP: Keep your job description simple enough to be understandable; does the position  require a person to – keep things running smoothly?   Move the needle? Or turn around a mess.

As a Professional Recruiter, I have interviewed thousands of disgruntled candidates.   The majority are   good employees, working in good companies who are in a position that does not fit their personality / mindset.

Don-JasenskyDonald Jasensky is founder and CEO of Automotive Personnel, LLC.;