Interviewing Talent

Hiring can be a stressful time for many managers. An empty chair, a ticking clock of someone leaving or the pains of growth all add pressure to making a decision quickly. Few managers have had any formal training on interviewing and have develop their own method to assess talent.

According to a survey of 2,257 hiring managers, 74% admitted to making a bad hire in the previous 12 months.

Bad hires have a ripple effect through a team. Disengagement is contagious and poor performers impact on those around them. How you deal with a bad hire also reflects on your own personal brand with the team.

Common reasons cited for bad hires included –

  • Took a chance on a nice person: 32 percent
  • Pressured to fill the role quickly: 30 percent
  • Had a hard time finding qualified candidates: 29 percent
  • Focused on skills and not attitude: 29 percent
  • Ignored some of the warning signs: 25 percent

With 54% of bad hires being linked to the quality of work that was produced by the newly appointed individual.

If any of these resonate with you, there are some simple ways to make sure that you are hiring the right person and in a stronger position to predict success.

Be clear on what you want

Especially if you are under pressure to fill a role quickly it is important to know exactly what you need someone to be able to do and how you will assess it. Setting a mission for the first 100 days [link] will help you to get clarity on the non-negotiable skills some must be able to demonstrate to succeed in the role.

Deep Dive on Recent Examples

Seek evidence from your candidates as to work they have done recently that demonstrates relevance to your project.

Avoid asking hypothetical questions, such as “How would you do this”

Ask recent behavioural questions “Talk me through a recent project where you did this”

Dig deeper into their answer – What was the goal? Who sets the project? What was the deadline? What were the consequences of delay or failure? What was done? How was this completed? What challenges were faced? What was the outcome? What did you learn? What would you do differently next time?

Listen carefully to their use of pronouns. Slipping from “I” to “We” indicates that they could, accidently, be riding on someone else’s hard work.

Be Aware of Your Own Bias

 When you need to fill a job quickly, you hope that everyone you meet is going to be the answer to your problem. Most hiring managers want to get the hiring done and get on with the delivery of the project. This is perfectly natural. What these trigger can be biases towards certain candidates as the perfect solution. Be mindful of this hampering your decisions –

  • If you look at a CV and start to make assumptions of capability due to the names of employers on their CV. They must be good if they worked there, will cloud your own questions and judgment
  • Letting common ground affect your decisions – studying at the same university, shared interests or acquaintances builds rapport and also clouds objectivity
  • Letting answers to early questions affect your assessment of latter questions. Having decided you like them you’ll go out of your way to prove you were right and vice versa
  • Seeing others manifested in the person in front of you. Reminds me of… which then (incorrectly) gives us predictors of success/failure

Know Your Process

A two-stage process for many positions makes sense. Knowing what each stage is for and what it takes to progress to the next is important. Dividing technical capability, competency assessment and values helps to create a meaningful scoring system. Make sure that every candidate you interview is scored against the mission and the job rather than their peers. The hiring standard should not be compromised otherwise you run the risk of hiring the best of a bad bunch. No breath in the chair is better than bad breath.

Remember – The Candidate is Assessing You, Too

In the same survey, workers were surveyed and 66% of them said they had taken a job in the past to find out is wasn’t right, after starting. You may be 100% certain they are right for you. Could they be accidently taking this role, to find out it was the wrong move for them?

Give you prospective employees the opportunity to ask questions. Share with them the reality of joining you and the challenges they will likely face.

Ask them to share their concerns so both of you go into it with your eyes wide open. With the competition to hire comes choice for candidates. You don’t want to be back hiring again to replace someone who decided you weren’t right for them.