Today’s rapid-fire response interview style produce lazy questions that yield unproductive answers. Ask a boring question, get a boring answer. The interview process is already entirely too long for you to be wasting valuable time and not actually getting to know the candidate during the interview.
Feeling nervous before an interview can be a mutual feeling that both interviewer and interviewee experience before an interview. In Mark Maron’s recent interview with the President of the United States, Maron goes into the interview feeling very nervous, who could blame him? The chance to have a conversation with the POTUS is life changing. Finding the best candidate who has just the right mix of skills, knowledge and experience is a blissful dream in a recruiter’s world today, but when it happens, it can literally change the life of an organization.
So why do organizations stick to the same, stale interview process over and over when trying to attract talent? Because, it’s easy. Newsflash: easy will not help you fill those hard-to-fill jobs with attractive talent. You may be checking off boxes and getting answers to your questions, but are they providing you with the insights you were hoping to get out of the interview? No. What you should be doing is searching for people who could be future value creators of our organization. You should be asking questions that allow you to understand how well that person meets the current job requirements and where they will need to be in 3 years from now. After all, you should be hiring for great talent and not just to fill a position.
Here are a few tips and tricks to shake up your interview process:
1. Go for the conversation
Do away with the checklist. Have an idea of what you want to cover instead of a list of pre-determined questions that you are used to using because lists require you to only half-listen and you will not engage or learn anything about the person you are interviewing if you are only half-listening. If the position that you are interviewing for requires you to ask specific questions regarding skills, etc., make sure you allow enough time to just talk. During an interview you have to really think if this person will fit into your culture, so having a real conversation is the best way to yield that type of information.
2. Tell me about yourself
Tell me about yourself. This question is obvious and also usually occurs at the very beginning of the interview. This question should lead into other topics that you wanted to cover and not act as a roadblock that requires the candidate to spit out their overly-prepared elevator pitch. Ask the interviewee how their friends and family would describe them to get another perspective. At this point, you want the interviewee comfortable talking with you as opposed to answering your rapid-fire questions.
3. Long-term goals
Many companies have problems with hiring people because they don’t know what kind of jobs they will need to fill in the future when many of these jobs don’t yet exist. Take this time during your interview to tap into that future potential and ask your interviewee where they want to be in the next 10 or 20 years instead of asking what their plan is for the next 5 years. This question throws your candidate off guard in a way that allows them to think and dream big and doesn’t limit them to a more thought-out 5 year plan.
4. Don't ask
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What’s your greatest weakness?
- Tell me about a professional conflict you had and how you resolved it.
- Tell me what you know about….
- Who are your heroes?
- What do you ultimately want to become?
- What do you like to do for fun?
- What does hard work mean to you?
Close with a high-five and the obligatory handshake, of course! Congratulations, you just sat through an enjoyable conversation and now have new insights to help lead you on your way!