Jul 022016

An earlier article addressed job interview questions and what to do from the perspective of an applicant.

Here we consider the interviewer and the hiring company’s perspective. If you have not read it review this article first. It speaks to the imperative of having a process and judging candidates against it.

As mentioned in those posts, asking the right questions during an interview, having a method that is followed and designed with the company’s needs in mind helps make the most fundamental decision to any company’s survival, growth and sustainability a more scientifically pertinent one. There is no more an important decision that a company makes than who to hire.

Unfortunately, too many people short-change or neglect processes and either ‘wing’ the interview, colour it with multiple biases or both. Things are so bad that an article notes how, for certain hiring decisions, machines are better than humans. This speaks to either a lack of process or the introduction – or better put: not suppressing – of personal and institutional biases.



So what makes hiring more effective, more aligned to goals and speeds up the process for both?

To start, and as part of the suggested systemic interview process, here is a list of questions one should consider asking and situations one wants the applicant to shine in:

Q: Tell me about your previous (‘relevant job description’) success.

A: Does the answer align with what it takes where you work? Are there actual examples culled from the interviewee’s past included in the answer?

Q: Tell me about an occasion of (‘relevant job description’) failure.

A: Does the answer take responsibility, show analysis and a modicum of learning from the candidates past mistakes. Is there an actual situation where the candidate admits to failure and offers a description of the resolution?

Q: Describe a good day.

A: The ideal candidate will give a thoughtful response to how he or she works. There is not a wrong or right answer here. There is, however, a star or two for the candidate who has process, introspection and logic and displays alignment with what you believe leads to success in the job at hand.

Q: Why you?

A: Can the person articulate a convincing reason why he or she has applied and why you should accept the person’s application.

Q: Do you have questions for me?

A: Any good candidate has legitimate and considerate questions. These differ from canned questions that are irrelevant to the particular job or are so clichéd that they obviously stem from a ‘how to interview’ article.

All questions and answers should be situational unless the interviewer specifically is asking for a ’yes’ or ‘no’ answer. Moving away from hypotheticals and into the realm of experience elevates the discussion.

Crucially interviewers must remove their biases, which includes the error of judging a book by the cover or the resume. A person’s appearance, their resume’s content, gender, age and race are not always indicative of their qualification one way or the other. Be aware of one’s personal biases and leash them as best as possible. Doing so would lend itself to the validity of the hiring/interview process. Ask good questions, listen carefully and impartially to assess the responses and you have done yourself, your company and the job seeker a favour.




*Things That Need To go Away: Haphazard Interview Questions Made Up On The Fly

May 292016

“There is little point in rehashing basic interview tips,” or some approximation of that thought had crossed my mind during the history of my writing on this website. There really should not be any reason to write here what anyone can find and read at numerous other sources… that is, until I participated in an interview for a job candidate earlier this month.

To be fair, there probably is no such thing as a perfect interviewer or interviewee. I paid for and worked with a professional resume writing service near the start of my career. There was a payment, an interview, a couple of back-and-forths and I was the owner of a newly minted state-of-the-art resume. That is what you would think. Except, what happened instead was that there were several criticisms of the new CV by recruiters who were receiving the document who were oblivious to how the thing was put together by a leading resume writing firm. The lesson all those years ago was that one cannot please everybody.

With that said, there are probably some interview basics to which most people agree. Especially, when interviewing for a sales position consider the interview a direct audition of your selling capability. The product is ‘you’ and the ‘buyer’ is the person interviewing you. Congratulations, you have been invited to come in. Sell yourself now. How?

  • Do your research,
  • Know the job’s requirements,
  • Be pleasant, positive, dress and speak the part,
  • Listen,
  • Given the chance, ask questions,
  • Etc.

Those are the basics.

The candidate I interviewed put together a compilation of things not to do. It might have been a case of the old ‘I am a man I can naturally sell anything’ syndrome, which unfortunately makes men grow egos too large to make many remember that respect, methodology and process remain important – or it might have been the individual in this instance.

Nonetheless, and without further ado, here are a few little tips that we all thought are by now unnecessary:

  • Be respectful of yourself, your interviewer and others in the universe
  • Know the job description and what you are required to do in it (no! you do not know the nuances of the job already better than the interviewer)
  • As a result… listen and ask thoughtful questions
  • Refrain from expressing racist, sexist or ageist opinions unless you believe in those things, are forthright and value your principles over sanity and getting a job or you are applying for a position with the Trump campaign.

I believe I already said this a couple of bullets ago, but sexism, racism and ageism have no place in our society and neither do they at a job interview or anywhere you and I want to work at…

Questions? Just ask.

Job to do and not to do

Here is a post about working with recruiters as well.

Here is a post about hiring the right salesperson.

*Things That Need To Go Away: People Who Can ‘Sell Anything And Everything’ Without Listening, Understanding Or Caring.