Are you satisfied with your organization’s interview process?
Recently a coaching client, Tanya, shared how proud she was that she finally has gotten her team to the place where they function well and get along. She was concerned that adding new team members will disrupt the great team.
I asked what she planned to do to ensure she selected people who will fit in well. Tanya was not really sure. Last November Tanya’s boss, the company President, John, added a Manufacturing VP who so disrupts the team that Tanya does everything in her power to avoid this man.
This is the leaders’ dilemma at any level, isn’t it? How to select the right people who will fit in the team. Pick the right new team member and the business hums. Pick a clunker and BOOM, you hit the wall. The secret is asking the right questions in the interview.
Tanya described her go-to interview questions. “I ask about their strengths and weaknesses and about what they are looking for in a company.” Hmmm… How will those questions give Tanya insight into whether the candidate will fit with the team or do a good job? They won’t.
Let me share the process we used to create customized questions that will do a better job of identifying the right candidate:
- First we have to understand the behavior that fits well with the team. Step away from the concept of “attitude” and dig deeper. Tanya said she wants outgoing people who are friendly and easy to talk to. People who are unafraid of talking to strangers. Shy quiet types or super bossy folks have been disruptive in the past. We can work with this.
- Then we build questions that require the candidates to share a story related to the characteristics you seek. One question we built was, “Tell me about a time you had to join a group and quickly take a leadership role.” This kind of behavioral question calls for prior experiences, a good indicator of the way the candidate might behave in the future. Certainly better than asking for strengths and weaknesses.
Each position requires different behavioral questions. You can’t sit in the interview and make this stuff up on the spot. You have to think this through in advance. Write the questions when you do your prep work prior to posting the job.
Share the questions with everyone on the interview team before the interviews. Don’t let the candidates off the hook with vague generalizations. Persistently dig for specific examples. Then debrief after the interviews to capture interviewers’ different points of view.
Are you still using the Frequently Asked Questions so readily available on the Internet? Improve your interview process with customized interview questions so you can hire the right person to fit with your team.