Interviewing is not always the domain of human resources. When you find yourself in the interviewer seat as a business leader, these tips will help you get the information you need to make better hiring decisions.
“A typical interview is a conversation between two liars. The interviewer will tell the candidate to come and join us in paradise…it is a spectacular place, look at the integrity…we change the world, society… And the candidate who is desperate to get the job will say that the day I join you will be like walking in paradise.“
This is how Claudio Fernandez-Araoz, a global expert on talent and leadership, describes the interview. In considering the qualities of a useful interview, we need to consider these steps:
Here are some signs that your listening skills need improvement:
When the answer does not seem to fit the question, ask the question again to be sure that it was heard and understood, and then listen carefully to the answers.
It is a strange fact that most of us have been exposed to training courses to improve our skills in presenting, but it is hard to find any course material for good listening. Many executives admit that they are better at talking than at listening. Yet listening skills are absolutely essential to conduct an effective interview.
In general, it is dangerous to ask any question that suggests that you are discriminating against the interviewee for any reason. Here are examples of inquiries to be avoided:
The best meetings are those that cause the interviewee to do most of the talking. By reviewing your questions first, you can ensure that the interviewee will be talking 90% of the time. Here are some tips:
First impressions should be recorded quickly, but it is even more important to compare responses to traits that you are looking for. If you are looking for a warehouse supervisor, the requirements will be different from the decision about whether to promote someone to the senior management team. If you are looking for a financial officer, the traits will be different from the requirements to be a sales manager. When you are looking for an analyst, the process is different from the search for a salesperson.
If you are interviewing to discover promotability, then you should assess emotional maturity, leadership potential, listening skills, and problem-solving capabilities.
When the process is to learn more about engagement, you need to measure the interviewee’s skills as a communicator. Does the respondent have a sense of purpose and a set of personal goals? Are those goals similar to the goals of your warehousing organization?
Many people feel that interviewing is a skill needed only by human resources specialists. While the HR people certainly need interviewing skill, everyone else in the organization can benefit from developing similar talents. The HR people are not infallible, and when you conduct an interview you are very likely to learn something that the HR interviewer missed.
Many senior executives feel that they should spend a significant portion of their time interviewing. They believe in management by asking good questions. They know that one of their most important jobs is to identify future leadership. They are concerned with management succession, finding the rising junior managers who have the potential to be the senior team in the future. They recognize that the interview is one of the best ways to accomplish this.
A version of this post was originally published on the Ackerman Warehousing Forum, Volume 33, Number 10, September 2018.
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