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!
Dr. Janice Presser is CEO of The Gabriel Institute
She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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