I’m a big fan of the Led Zeppelin tune, Stairway To Heaven. As good as Led Zeppelin’s version is, you should check out the live rendition done by the band Heart, at the Kennedy Center program a few years ago, when President Obama was honoring Led Zeppelin and Heart played the song, complete with an orchestra. Spectacular! So, on to Recruiting and Hiring. The bottom line of my advice is this: Do this right, and your team will shine, and you will be able to consistently deliver ambitious results! On the other hand, if you do not emphasize recruiting and hiring, if you choose to short change your focus and efforts in that area, you are likely to be playing catch-up for the rest of your career… It’s that important to have the right people in your organization and in the right roles. When the team fits the culture and the roles that the company needs them to fill, magic happens. Magic, just like Stairway to Heaven…
- During your interviews, ask numerous questions designed to identify the key core character traits and competencies that the best candidates MUST bring to this role when they join your team. Listen intently to the answers to these questions and observe the facial expressions and candidates to gauge the authenticity in their answers. Ask follow-up questions to get examples that prove the answers are genuine. If you glide through interviews and don’t exercise discipline to make sure that you’re really working and making the candidates work, you do yourself and the candidates a disservice, because you won’t truly be able to evaluate their current and future capability to fit into your company and your role.
- Determine how each candidate feels about and handles a little failure and how they view and handle mistakes. Use that question to learn whether they’re the type to quickly point fingers or to lay down the “Victim Card.” Some of the best advice I can give you is to surround yourself with balanced and optimistic problem solvers and collaborative teammates. You want to avoid negative people and chronic victims like the plague. Let them go to work for your competitors and let them slow THEM down.
- Get the candidates to tell you what they consider “success”. This wonderful technique will reveal a tremendous amount of helpful information to you. My favorite way to ask this question is; “Suppose we decide you’re perfect for this job, offer it to you and you accept the position. Fast forward ahead for a year and tell me what’s going on. What will success look like for you?”
- Ask at least one question of each candidate that forces him or her to role-play to see how he or she really handles a challenge. One good example would be to have them imagine that they have a customer who is livid and wants to return something to your company and you know that there is nothing wrong with it. You play the customer and have the candidate play him or herself and have them show you how they are going to handle the situation. You will learn a great amount of information about the values of the person you’re interviewing during this role play and will have a much better sense of whether their values are a good match for your values.
- This next suggestion may seem funny, but trust me; it’s an essential ingredient to a great interview. Take good notes during the interviews and take ten minutes after the interview to review the notes and add more so you won’t forget the content of the interview. If you don’t do it now, you might forget later. This will pay off big time when it comes time to recap four back-to-back interviews. Schedule all interviews with a little time afterward to document the discussion, and you’ll have a much more meaningful evaluation of the candidates at day’s end. Be sure to teach your fellow interviewers to do this as well. Far too often, interviews are scheduled back to back, and it’s very difficult to remember the content of an 8:00 AM interview with candidate #1 after four back-to-back interviews and a day’s work.
- Send your candidates a personalized note of thanks after each interview. Do not leave candidates hanging about their status. What better way to inspire confidence in your organization and in your own character than to treat each candidate with respect and care? Over my career, dozens of people who once interviewed with me, later became decision makers at companies that became clients. I felt much better beginning a relationship with them knowing that we treated them with human dignity and courtesy, even when we might not have selected them for the position. Exercise care and ensure that every candidate is handled with human courtesy and great respect!
Michael is an award winning Business Advisor and Executive Development Coach who specializes in working with firms in the technology sector. He is putting the finishing touches on his first business book, which he looks forward to publishing in the coming year. Check out Michael’s YouTube channel for more great business leadership ideas. Remember, this is just the second in our series on Recruiting and Hiring and we’ll have more on recruiting Best Practices again in our next post. Til then, remember that every interview leaves an impression upon the person you interview, make it count! Enjoy the journey!