29 Jan A Rational Way to Make a Gut Decision – Interviewing & Pre-Screening Candidates
A Rational Way to Make a Gut Decision – Interviewing & Pre-Screening Candidates
With the objective of increasing interview pre-screening and pre-qualifying candidate assessment accuracy, here are some tips for that both interviewers and candidates can use.
How to Separate Fact from Fiction and Ensure an Accurate Interview Assessment
- Just the facts. Too many candidates speak in generalities. These have no value. Facts do. So if you’re a candidate you need to be prepared to give specific details about each of your major accomplishments. These include dates, measurable results, the actual deliverables, and any supporting information needed to validate the accomplishments. If you’re the interviewer, you need to dig for this information. Don’t leave it up to the candidate to provide it.
- Give and get SMARTe examples to prove a strength. Candidates need to prove every strength with specific examples. Interviewers need to ask for these examples. We suggest using the SMARTe acronym to form the answers and the follow-up fact-finding questions: Specific task, Metrics, Action taken, Results and deliverable defined, the Time frame, and a description of the e
- Go narrow and deep vs. broad and shallow. The idea behind Performance-based Interviewing is to gets lots of detailed information about a few of the candidate’s major accomplishments. This is more representative of past performance and potential fit than asking a bunch of scattered questions about generic competencies and behaviors. The competencies and behaviors will reveal themselves as part of the candidate’s performance.
- Focus on what’s important using targeted listening. A good interviewer listens 4X more than talking by asking probing questions. If you’re the candidate, and the interviewer seems to be going off on a tangent, ask the person to describe some of the main challenges in the job. This will bring focus back to what’s important. Then describe a SMARTe accomplishment that represents the best work you’ve done in that area.
- Skip or ignore the hyperbole. Interviewers, do not use the terms “awesome” or “unique” when describing a job. Instead, provide enough details about the job so the candidate concludes it’s awesome or unique. Candidates, skip the boilerplate and generalities on your resume, LinkedIn profile or in your answers. Don’t say you’re motivated, strong, dedicated, a great problem-solver or a great team player, or whatever, unless you can back it up with proof. Let the interviewer determine if you’re strong, dedicated or a team player, based on the examples you present.
- Separate performance from presentation to increase objectivity. The purpose of an interview is to assess the person’s past performance in comparison to what needs to be accomplished on the job. The tips below on how to overcome the seductive power of first impressionsprovides some tips for interviewers on how to increase objectivity. This is critical, since the majority of hiring errors can be attributed to bias of some sort.
- Rehearsed or natural. I prefer candidates who struggle to come up with their answers. I always feel I’m being conned when the answers are glib, or the candidate is over-confident or over-prepped. In this case, I go out of my way to throw the candidate off-balance to see if he or she can handle the situation. I remember one candidate who told me he rebuilt his entire team of roughly 20 people in the first year. After probing and asking for specific titles, it turned out the team consisted of six people and he replaced only three of them. Of course, the candidate wasn’t considered.