Thousands of books and techniques have been written on how to effectively find, screen, interview, and hire the ‘right people for the bus.’ Equally, there are thousands of consultants who are paid good money to help teach companies how to effectively interview, as well as, retained recruiters that help find capable candidates worthy of consideration. Yet, we still make mistakes when selecting employees to join our team!
What are few tips to keep in mind when evaluating potential candidates?
- Don’t listen just to the candidates words. Most candidates practice their shtick and are fairly smooth in their oratory assessment of their talents. Yet, there are hundreds of other things that are ‘said’ through body language. Look and listen. They can help tell the entire story.
- Prepare questions based on the specific job, requirements, team dynamics, etc. Questions are our most powerful tool. Our questions must be tied to the purpose, which is flushing out whether this person is good fit for THIS job. That means he/she is the best athlete for this sport – not just in general.
- Talk 20% and listen 80%. This is not the time for us to ‘sell’ the company or job, regardless how badly we think we want the candidate. We need to LISTEN. We need to probe for details, substantiating examples of a candidate’s experience. Taking a candidate at face value is often where we get tripped up. Probing and listening is where the rubber meets the road. Ask questions which may expose where a candidate may NOT be a good fit. In other words, try to qualify why the candidate would not be successful in the job, company, culture, and team. This is not the time for optimism; this is the time to ruthlessly qualify on the front end.
- As good as our gut intuition is – when we really listen to it – we still need to apply logic, intelligence, and specific criteria to our process. I am a huge believer that our intuition is our ‘true north,’ so the key is to simply support that intuition with facts and data.