#15 – The Interview – Be Patient and Listen Very Carefully

Tips for effective interviewing, hirring and selection

Tips for effective interviewing

As mentioned in our last entry (The Interview – Avoiding Common Mistakes), the keys to conducting an effective interview are:

  1. Properly prepare yourself for the interview
  2. Know what your objectives are for the interview
  3. Read the candidate’s CV very carefully and prepare your questions
  4. Revisit your description of the job, its objectives, and its challenges
  5. Control the interview by asking the questions
  6. Listen very intently with a constructively skeptical ear (i.e. play detective)

Finally, be patient.  Don’t rush the interview.  Remember that you are trying to get to know the candidate – both the strengths (which he/she will be quick to point out) and more importantly, the weaknesses. The latter is where your interviewing skills and diligence must be at their best.  Your interviews could be anywhere from one to three hours with the length of time depending most upon:

  1. How well you felt you got to know the candidate
  2. How much the candidate liked to talk

So what questions are good to ask?

There are countless questions that could be asked and to describe them all are beyond the scope of this article.  However, after conducting dozens of interviews for many different positions we have determined that the ones below consistently formed the foundation of the interview.

Referring to the candidate’s CV,  try asking the following questions for each company he/she worked for and/or position held in the last 10 years:

  1. How did you obtain the job?  (Note the names and contact details of key people who were involved)
  2. What did you like and dislike about the job and company? (Ask for examples)
  3. What were the accomplishments that you were most proud of? (Diligently determine what their role actually was in the accomplishment.  Ask for names and contact details of other key people involved.  Compare these accomplishments to what the position with your company requires.)
  4. What were your worst mistakes, how did they happen and how did you react to/ learn from them? (Ask for names and contact details of other key people involved.)
  5. Who did you report to? (Get names and contact details.) What did you like and dislike most about them?  (Ask for examples.)
  6. In your annual review (assuming that they had one) what were your key strengths and weaknesses?  Were examples given supporting this feedback?  Did you agree with the assessment?
  7. Why did you leave the company or change position?
  8. Who are your references and why did you include them in your list?  Tell me about them and what role they have played in your life? (If there have been other key people mentioned in answers to the above questions ask why they have not been included in the list.)

These questions are designed to provide significant insight into who the candidate is.  If you are patient and listen very carefully to the answers you will have a number of other questions that will allow you to dig even deeper.  Remember, the candidate must prove to you that he/she deserves the position with your company.

Future articles will discuss:

  1. How to determine whether or not a good candidate properly understands the opportunities and challenges of the position.
  2. Other processes that can be used for interviewing.
  3. How to obtain personnel leads from poor candidates.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article please email us at Terry Thompson at tesh@shaw.ca  or  Jason Kipps JasonKipps@gmail.com  ©