#16 – How to Test a Candidate’s Self Initiative in the Interview Process

By Jason Kipps and Terry Thompson.

As described in our earlier articles, one of the key characteristics of a great employee is a high degree of self-initiative.  A good test is to ask the candidates:

  1. What do they know about your company (e.g. vision, values, mission, products/services provided, the competition, how it differentiates itself, etc.)?
  2.  What do they know about the job description, its goals, and its challenges?
  3. Why are they suited for the position? (Have them include examples of personal accomplishments and challenges where they learned from mistakes. (They should be able to provide a reference who can substantiate their claims.)
  4. How did they research their answers to 1 and 2 above? (Did it demonstrate self-initiative?)
Interview, selection, assessment, recruit, employment brand

How to test self-initative in the interview

The person with high self-initiative will have listened/read carefully any information provided to him/her by the recruiting firm, read your website thoroughly, Googled you and your company for any media articles, sought out people they know who might know something about your organization, etc. Remember that the candidate has as much responsibility to check you and your company out as you do for checking them out.  Many people who remain with an employer for a long time do so because they put considerable effort into researching their employer before choosing to be employed by that company.  You want to be confident that the candidates really know what will be expected of them and that they are moving toward what they want in their career rather than just running from a bad situation.  The probability of achieving a good fit increases substantially if both you and the candidate have done your homework.  Take the time to make sure that the candidates have properly undertaken their end of the responsibility.  This approach also allows you to determine if each candidate’s perception of the company is correct..  If there are any inadvertent, negative misperceptions, you have a chance to correct them.

Our next blog entry will list some additional tips regarding the interviewing process and provide information about key items that are often missed in a job description.  After that we will describe how to perform the most critical component of the selection process: effective reference checking! – .

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

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