Leaders: 5 New Rules for Interviewing

With the end of a difficult economic year approaching and the beginning of a new decade just around that same corner, many people will be getting back into the hunt for a new job or a new career soon. With unemployment up to historical highs, and the number of people dissatisfied with their current job at 65%, employers can expect that new people will be coming to their doors in search of work in larger numbers than before.

Approximately 65% of employees admitted to passively or actively looking for a new job, compared to employers’ estimate of 37%. ~ Salary.com survey

If you are one who hires people, or is involved in the interviewing process, there are some key things of which you need to be aware to help you succeed in the hiring process. The number of people who are currently available to you is enormous and you can really be selective in who you hire. This can be a good thing. It can also cause you to be overwhelmed. With the complex array of applicants available to you, interviewing people with tools and mindsets from yesteryear might not serve you this time around. You have the opportunity to build (or rebuild) healthy and vibrant teams that are better equipped for the future. You just need to know how to do it.

For instance, there are individuals who might not typically fit your “profile for perfection” for a particular position, but who might actually end up being perfect for a job with you because they bring a fresh approach to the job or the working environment. By getting the right person for the team, in addition to the right person for the job, the whole group can excel.

Getting it Right

To make sure that you are properly geared for this next wave of interviews, take a quick moment and see The 5 New Rules for Interviewing to help you get the best possible candidate for your open position.

1) Shut Up and Listen

Every moment you speak is a moment your interviewee is silent. Unless you are interviewing someone who will be working for you as a mime, you aren’t learning anything while you’re talking. Trust that your listening skills will serve you well and let them speak. You will be glad that you did.

2) Ask SPIN Questions

Help your interviewee learn more about the position and company–while you’re learning more about them–by asking them value-centric questions. Try using what sales guru Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling and many other books on business communication, calls ‘Implication’ and ‘Need-payoff’ questions.

  • “What if you got this position and could do anything within reason to make it a success. What might you do”
  • “Here’s a recurring problem (describe it); How many ways might this negatively impact our business?”
  • “How would you handle an unexpected surge in new business opportunities?”

This gives the candidate an opportunity to ‘dig in’ and actually sell themselves on the job opportunity, while giving you a view into their thinking and problem-solving processes and abilities.

3) Stick to a Plan

Remember that an interview is a form of assessment. If every interview follows a different path, they will not result in accurate or reasonable comparisons between candidates. Not only do you need to ask the same questions of each interviewee, you need to interpret their answers in the same way. Furthermore, if you don’t isolate the key message points and stay focused on them, it is all the more likely that the candidate’s physical characteristics, gender, race, nationality, style of dress, etc. will creep into the assessment–and before you know it you will be adrift in unconscious biases that can lead to future trouble.

4) Pick a Team Player

Consider using an assessment that is designed to measure teaming characteristics. Team dynamics are crucially important on individual contributors. Historically, hiring has always been focused primarily on the characteristics of the candidates. Ironically, how well they will perform on the team doesn’t come to the fore until after the hire–and isn’t recognized as a failing until after the ‘bad hire’ has done plenty of damage. You can’t really ask people how they ‘team’ and expect a reliable answer, so you need a way to predict how they will behave.

5) Take the High Road

Even when you’re having a tough day, remember that you are making decisions of critical importance to your organization. You have direct influence on building and maintaining a human infrastructure that will determine the success or failure of the entire organization. Take a deep breath, ask for a second opinion if you’re unsure, and always keep learning.

By following these 5 rules, you will help ensure that you are building a more robust future of everyone involved.

What are you doing right that has proved you proficient in interviewing candidates? What are you presently doing wrong with your interviewing processes? How do you think that these are impacting your team’s performance? What can you add to the discussion to help others get the best people for their positions out of effective interviewing techniques? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Dr. Janice Presser is CEO of
The Gabriel Institute
She can be reached at jpresser@thegabrielinstitute.com

Image Sources: students.ou.edu, cdn.mashable.com, newsletter.myemployees.com

10 responses to “Leaders: 5 New Rules for Interviewing

  1. Very informative and interesting.
    Knowing how a person will “fit” into the team is very important for creating success.
    Glad to know there is now a tool available to discover what role an individual prefers and what other role the person would partner with the best to create a great team.

  2. If you are looking for a *new way to know* how people will perform on a team, just contact me at DrJanice {at) thegabrielinstitute (dot) com and I’ll be happy to give you a RBA Business Solution at No Cost!

  3. This is great advice. I am always amazed how many people, in trying to learn about another person, wind up doing most of the talking. How can you learn anything about the other person by talking?

  4. Using an assessment designed to measure teaming characteristics is useful in selecting the right candidate and the insight you gain from the results can also help you manage the new hire more effectively from day 1.

    I recommend OND’s Method Teaming. Great insight.

    • Visited Method Teaming site — interesting approach. I think you would be very interested to see how much more about can be learned about a person’s approach to team interaction and positive contribution (not just job responsibilities/work-styles) can be identified using Dr. Presser’s ‘Role-Based Assessment.

  5. This is great stuff! When I was CEO of a tech company, knowing whether or not a person is a good team player BEFORE the hire would have saved our company (and me) 18 months of misery and untold cost!

  6. Excellent article!!! In this age of fierce competition for the best, what better way to uncover someone fit. If you ask the WRONG questions and follow the WRONG process you are likely to pick the WRONG candidate. Guess what the inverse is true. What this aritcle points out is that there is a better “way to know”.

  7. This is excellent! I wish my HR folks as well as many hiring managers in my company would read this.
    With the multitude of resumes burying the inbox of both HR screeners and hiring managers, what I am seeing is just the opposite of what you express. They hire people that have the most direct experience for the position because they will need less training and it is easier. Now more than ever you need to hire people that possess the qualities you spoke of – open-mindedness, adaptability, creativity, team player, courage.

  8. Thanks for the great post!!

    Over the years I’ve decided to look not just fot the qualities that will make someone successful in the position I’m currently hiring for, but I also look to hire people I can see moving into leadership positions in the future. Every hiring decision I make is with the hope of moving someone else into the leadership pipeline.

    With that in mind, and realizing that success at every level requires the ability to develop relationships, I ask a lot of questions to try to determine the candidate’s ability to do just that.

    What are their relationships like at their current/last job? I try to determine how they see themselves in relationships (superior? inferior? need to be right?…). When and how have they spoken up to their friends/coworkers when they disagree with what’s going on… will they stand up for what they believe in?

    I ask them what they would do if all jobs paid the same and they could have any job they wanted…? While there is no ‘wrong’ answer, there are answers where the candidate choses to have dominion over others, or (hopefully) they choose a job where they interact with others and help people…

    I do ask my versions of ‘spin’ questions, and after reading you thoughts I might just have to read the book!

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