Every person you hire will either improve your organization or detract from it in some manner. Hiring the “heroes” that contribute in a positive manner to the organization is a valuable strategic goal. People involved in the hiring process need to be your internal “hiring heroes” who maintain a constant vigilance in seeking out the “heroes” to hire. The good news here is that you can have both.
Many who conduct hiring interviews think they must ask the “magic bullet” questions or play gotcha’, or believe they are the ones who should make the hiring decision. None of this is necessary or even encouraged. Following some proven, effective guidelines consistently will produce candidates who are “Hero Hires.”
There has been an increase in the debate of whether behavioral questioning is truly effective. As you know, these questions go something like, “Can you tell me about a time when you…” The question ends with some situation the candidate handled well. Some studies indicate that this type of interviewing is so effective that 94% of organizations use it. As effective as behavioral interviewing might be, follow-up questions add depth and substance. Anthony Tjan,, Managing Partner of the Cue Ball Group suggests following up with “Can you tell me more?” An article about Google’s hiring practices provides several good specific follow-up questions that will work with almost any interview questions.
Silver Bullet and Magic Questions
Examples of these type questions are: “If you could be an animal/tree what kind would you be and why?” These types of questions really have nothing to do with how a person will do a job or how they might fit your culture. In addition, this type of questioning could result in biases if the interviewer shares the candidate’s favorites. Further, we have all read how to answer these if asked. Lisa Quest in her article, 4 Ways to Improve Your Hiring Process suggests that the interviewer’s focus should be on trying to determine the candidate’s knowledge, skills, and attributes.
Gotcha’ or Brainteaser Questions
These are questions like, “How many golf balls would it take to fill a 747?” or “How many windows are in this building?” For the most part, these types of questions are to determine how the candidate thinks under pressure. Seriously? Job interviews are nerve racking enough without these elementary school antics.
Think about this. By seeking another position, a candidate is demonstrating goal setting abilities and a certain amount of courage for going after a better job. The candidate is also demonstrating that he/she can prepare by submitting a resume and studying how to answer these mundane questions, not to mention a certain amount of patience to put up with someone asking them!
Solitary Hiring Decisions
On my first two jobs, ever, the personnel manager did the interviewing and the hiring. No one else had any part in the hiring process. Of course, these jobs were far from executive positions, they were for a file clerk and then the secretarial pool working for about five engineers. Even with these “lowly” positions, I dare say things are different today…or at least they should be different.
Human Resources may do an initial screening, but the person for whom the candidate will be working should absolutely meet and interview all candidates. Google takes things even further, by having peers, unassociated individuals, and people who will be working for you participate in the interviewing process.
Physically network where the candidates you are seeking hang out, read what they read, (this includes social media), and post where they post might be appropriate as well.
- Employee Referral Programs
Employee referral programs are long standing tools and even though they are effective, few organizations use them. Just be sure to design solid policies and procedures around them to ensure the referral of only the best candidates.
Using websites such as LinkedIn, alumni sites, and niche sites for high level professionals, and other sites for non-executive positions is becoming more popular.
Some sources tout automated resume screening as being a tool highly successful organization utilize. This helps organizations to better screen, organize, and find resumes. However, I have yet to hear a candidate sing the praises of automated resume submission.
This method also allows you to build databases you can use to shorten your search time.
While assessments are proven to be effective, and are a tool that highly successful companies use, less than 30% of organizations use them regularly. Ensure that assessments you use are valid, reliable, and have a scientific base. Be careful of tests with a bias toward gender or race.
Work Sample Tests
Oftentimes organizations require candidates for training positions to demonstrate their presentation skills by delivering a mock training segment. We all know that giving trainers the respect they so richly deserve is not always SOP. I’m sure that’s not true in your organization, but what’s the point? The point is that if we are spending extra time and resources on a position that doesn’t always have the highest consideration, why do we not have other positions provide work samples. For example:
- A PR candidate would need to write a press release
- A marketing candidate would need to either submit a marketing plan or explain key components in yours
- Technical hires can be asked to solve an engineering issue or solve a rather simple technical problem
- Situational interviewing can be integrated here as well. These questions are hypothetical job-related, and are framed, “What would you do if….”
- A sales candidate might ride along on a sales call and be observed selling or simply have them “sell” an item to the interviewer.
Hiring poor employees can harm your brand. Good employees enhance company growth and build a great culture for everyone. Following structured hiring procedures and doing them consistently will result in your organization having hiring heroes on both sides of the hiring desk.
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