Questions, Questions

October 9, 2017by Micah Shaw

I compare recruiting and hiring to dating and marriage.  There has been many a union where one partner or the other said “That’s OK, I will change him/her after we are married.”  Likewise, many an employer has ignored red flags in the recruiting process and wondered why the evil twin came to work instead of the person that was interviewed.

Interviews serve several purposes.  They allow us to check for fit, review skills and qualifications, communication skills and presentation.  The most important purpose of an interview is to get evidence of past behaviour.  Future performance is based on past performance.  If I can provide evidence of past behaviour, you can probably rely on me to behave that way in the future.  Future behaviour is also linked to frequency and recency.  The more frequently I have demonstrated a behaviour, the more likely I am to repeat it, and the more recently I have done it, great is the likelihood I will do it again.

The key to getting evidence lies in the interview questions.  After asking a few icebreaker questions to set a comfortable tone, it is time to dig deeper.  Evidence based questions always start with one of the following phrases:

“Tell me about a time……”

“When was the last time……”

“Give me an example of a time…..”

Give the candidate time to generate a solid example.  If the candidate cannot generate an example, you will have no evidence that this person has ever done or can perform the behaviour you are looking for.  Be careful of candidates who generalize with phrases such as “Oh, I do that a lot…” or “That happens all the time..” There is a helpful acronym that will help you remember the process:  When interviewing, cast a N.E.T.

Nail the example;

Expand the example;

Test the example.

Once you have a solid example from a candidate, you can then use it to ask follow up questions to see if the story holds together.  If the candidate says he/she can’t think of an example, be sure to tell him/her that you will be coming back to the question.  Don’t just skip over it.

A common form of interview question goes like this:  What would you do if…….  If I have never done it, I don’t know what I would do, so I can make something up.  Remember, recency and frequency.

We can help you write powerful interview questions that will tell you whether or not this date should proceed to marriage, and whether it will last.