Leadership Secrets of a Good Interview

Description

Dr. Mark Rutland offers a few insights on the interview process and which thoughts can be helpful in making good hiring decisions.

Every employer has made or eventually will make a bad hire. If you already have this unhappy box checked, welcome to the club. If you have not yet made an unfortunate choice, your seat at the table awaits you. It's probably just a matter of time. If you have made a bad hire and you are merely living in denial, its time to face the truth and "man up."

Having said all that, I want to offer a few insights on the interview process, which thoughts, I believe, can he helpful in making good hiring decisions. No system is infallible. I know that. However, when I have carefully followed a few simple guiding principles, I have made my best hiring decisions. When I bypassed them, or hurried, or ignored warning signs, that is when I have made my most regrettable decisions. Hiring and staff interviews are part of what I teach in session two of the National Institute of Christian Leadership (TheNICL.com). In this brief article I will not try to cover that entire lecture. Here are some thoughts on interviewing prospects.

1)  First and foremost: In fact, if this one point is as far as you read I believe it will be worth it to you. IN THE INTERVIEW PROCESS, TALK LESS AND LISTEN MORE. I believe that most interviewers make the mistake of using the interview process for acculturation. If you decide to go further with this candidate you can tell them more about your organization later. Way later. Actually most of that needs to happen after they are hired.

In the interview you want to mine them for information. Don't tip your hand as to what you are looking for. Find out who they are, what they can do, and what they enjoy and hate about jobs such as yours.

2)  Ask leading and open-ended questions. What have you liked best about previous jobs? What have been your greatest frustrations? Tell me something you did at a previous employer that gave you a great satisfaction. Have you ever had a serious, work-related conflict? Tell me about that. How did you resolve it? Tell me why you would consider leaving where you are. Why would you want to work here?

3)  Ask philosophical questions rather than philosophizing. You can always teach them what you believe later. Use the interview process to discover how wide the gap is coming in.

Use questions such as these. What is your management philosophy? How would you deal with a conflict with an employee? Tell about an example from your own experience. What about conflict with a colleague? How about with a superior? Tell me how you've handled things like that in the past. How do you understand the intersection between your personal vision and the vision of the house where you work?  That last question may seem overly vague. Good. Let them flounder a bit. It gives you a chance to find more than just their opinions. You can discover how well they think on their feet. In other words, some questions are designed to get information. Others are designed to see how they handle themselves, what their communication skills are and how easily they become flustered and frustrated.

4) Pay attention to more than their words. Listen to your intuition. Don't suppress your negative hunches. When you get finished with the interview and you realize that the answers were acceptable, but the attitude left you with a bad taste, that is an alarm bell. Body language, demeanor, punctuality and dress, among other observations, may afford you important insights into whether this person is a fit for you.

5)  Take note of anything in the interview that caused you to wince. Circle around and ask the same question later in a different way. Don't be afraid to press them for explanation.  Remember, this person wants to work in your organization. You have a responsibility to find out all you can about how they tick. If they are vague, evasive or dismissive of your question, pay attention.

Above all things remember the purpose of the interview is not for you to brag about how good your organization is.  When they leave the interview they should not know much more about you or your organization than when they walked in. You should know lots more about them.
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