I often hear leaders from all types of organizations ask questions about hiring right person. Their questions usually sound like these:
- What if their resume looks great but they have a bad attitude?
- What if they put on a good act and then don’t work hard?
- How can I tell how they will perform after I hire them?
A great way to answer these questions starts with a well-defined interview process. I have heard procedure called many things. I first learned it as Behavioral Event interview process. The guiding thought behind this system is that "while it is no guarantee of success, past performance is best indicator of future performance."
Here is main idea -- develop an interview system that forces candidate to tell you, in direct and specific terms, how they have worked in past. You want candidate to do more than recount where they have worked and what experience they have. You can read their resume to get that information. You want candidate to tell you: how they think, how they work, and how they relate to other people. Actual implementation can get a little involved, but basic process goes like this: 1) Identify key skills (attributes, attitudes, etc) for success in your organization. In a big company, you might develop list by interviewing successful people in organization. In a smaller company, you could brainstorm with owner(s) about what they want to see in an employee.
2) Rank competencies to separate “must-have” traits from “would be nice” traits. Write your list in form of a checklist for use during interviews. 3) Develop a series of questions that get people to tell you specifics about their experience. The best series start with broad, open-ended questions and lead to follow-up with questions that dig for specifics.
For example, series could go like this:
Start with an open-ended question like “Tell me about a time in your high school (college, internship, last job, etc.) when you had to convince another student (co-worker, etc.) to help you?" or "Tell me about a time from your last job (internship, college, etc.) that you had to make a sudden change in plans?" Let them pick scenario; you probe for specifics. When they give you scenario, begin process of "peeling onion." Ask follow-up questions like “When that happened, what was first thing you did?” Then, "Who did you talk to to make change happen?" Maybe you could follow that with,"Did they react positively or negatively to your request, and how did you respond to them?"