The Human Element

How do you feel when interviewing for a job? If you’re like me, perhaps you find the whole task of looking for a job somewhat stressful. The recommendations you’ll find in this section are designed to help candidates perform to their potential. This makes our job easier by providing a more consistent basis for assessment.

The Business Obligation

In my experience, hiring is one of the most strategically critical things we do. Who we hire shapes the capabilities and culture of our team and company.

Despite its importance, interviewing is sometimes viewed as a nuisance or given little preparation. You stop the important work you’re doing, get on a call and talk. Perhaps you read some provided questions. How hard can it be?

As you probably know, it can be pretty hard. How can we do better? A well documented process is a good start. Good documentation makes it easier to train all participants involved. But if you want them to be good at it, and you do want them to be good at it, that will require coaching.

For your consideration

Is interviewing well, as a skill, key to the day-to-day success of the role? If not, are the outcomes of your process overly influenced by that ability? How could you tailor it to instead focus on what will make the most difference in the long-term value of the hire?

A clearly defined process, with staff trained to consistently follow it, allows for objectivity and continual improvement.

Legal concerns I’m not qualified to address legal concerns, but they’re important. For example, below is a link to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s website. It identifies some topics that cannot be discussed with candidates. Other topics, while not prohibited, may be legally problematic. The best advice I can provide is to work with your HR and/or legal team to define your boundaries, and then regularly verify all interviewers are aware of them.

Guiding Principles

The suggestions provided here seek to live up to these principles.

Be respectful Treat candidates with dignity and respect. No explanation should be needed.

Eliminate bias Putting aside the legal issues mentioned above, bias (whether conscious or unconscious) works against the best interests of the candidate and the company. The process should proactively guide participants to an unbiased outcome.

Move quickly Be prepared to move quickly from initial scheduling to a final decision. A slow moving process frustrates candidates and increases the odds that talent will be lost to faster moving organizations.

Over communicate Explain from the start what your overall process looks like. At each step remind them where they are now and what they can expect next.

A Humane Approach

The following sections provide sample questions. The intent is that they be tailored to your personal style and your organization’s needs. The skilled interviewer will make the candidate feel like they’re having a natural conversation, while still covering the material in a consistent way.

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