Hiring – and the games we play…

October 5, 2009

Increase your success rate as a hiring manager – and increase your career success! 


The interview process resembles dating in many ways.  The hiring manager and the candidate are both on their best behavior during the process.  Then, once on board the candidate begins to show their true colors and the manager (along with the company) begin to reveal their true personality.  This is a recipe for failure.
Sure, you want to show your best when you are recruiting top talent for a key position on your team.  You also want to make sure that the person you hire will be passionate about you, their working group and the company.  After all, happy employees are productive employees.  Why then, do you spend more time promoting your company (and yourself) during the selection process than really getting to know your candidate – and letting them get to know you?
Try these tips to help you break down protective barriers that candidates have in place during the interview ‘courtship’:
  1. Set an agenda for the interview and selection process.  Let each interviewer know what the process will be and how long it will take.  This will reduce their anxiety and create a more open dialogue.
  2. Follow up and follow through.  Set a tone of trust with each candidate by committing to follow up on or before a specific date – and then do it.  Get feedback to the candidate quickly (within 24 hours), even if the feedback is ‘we need more time’.
  3. Meet your final candidates at least twice and conduct one interview on the telephone.  Interviews on the phone can be very revealing because you aren’t distracted by a visual aide and as a result, you’ll pick up on information you might miss in a personal meeting. 
  4. Really talk through reasons for leaving.  Don’t gloss over this one – if it’s always someone else’s fault that the candidate ended a working relationship that’s a HUGE red flag.
  5. Ask about strengths and then ask them to tell a story about that strength.  Stories are personal; characteristics rehearsed in preparation for an interview, aren’t.
  6. Be honest about your weaknesses – and then ask the candidate to be honest about theirs.  This works, really.
  7. Make sure the candidate is doing 80 percent of the talking.  Often, hiring managers spend so much time talking about themselves that they run out of time for the candidate to talk.  You can’t get to know someone unless you LISTEN to them.
  8. Check references personally.  References, especially former managers, are very open about providing constructive information that will help a future manager.  You’re in the club together!
These small adjustments in your interview process really work to help candidates trust you enough to reveal more of their core character so you can make a better hiring decision.
  
Fact #1 – Candidates are rehearsed for their interviews
Fact #2 – Candidates in the market today have more experience interviewing than you do
Fact #3 – Hiring strong is ABSOLUTELY a reflection of you as a manager
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