Terry Thompson, Surrey, BC, CYBF Mentor, tesh@shaw.ca

Managing Corporate Culture article series

Conducting interviews is one of the most important steps in selecting staff in order to ensure the right person is chosen for the right job. Here are some tips regarding interviews:

Have other people in the organization interview at least the top one or two prospects for the position.  This not only gives you additional opportunities with the candidate but it also:

  • Gives the candidates more insights into the key people in the company
  • Gives other people in your organization more interviewing practice

Particularly for important management positions, get to know the top candidate in a social setting (lunch, dinner, golf etc.). It is also useful to invite the candidate along with their spouse for a lunch or dinner. In those situations, I would also invite my wife as I value her impressions of people.  Again, the goal is to get to know who the candidate is as best as possible.  My overarching rule was that if after all my efforts I still did not feel that I knew the candidate, or had some doubts I did not hire him/her even if there was an absence of negatives.

As mentioned in a previous article, ensure that you obtain the names and contact information of people who can substantiate any representations about themselves. Contact at least two of these people that are not listed as references.

If during the interview you feel that the candidate is not a good fit, use the opportunity to gain the names of other people the candidate knows who may be worth contacting (i.e. people they have worked with or for). Naturally, the questions asked to gain this information must be subtle.  An example would be to ask the person to describe the personnel structure of the company or department that they worked in, the names of high achievers and how they performed in relation to those people.  The reason given for asking these questions can be to obtain more knowledge about the environment that the candidate operated in and how they compared to other high achievers in the same organization.

Having accurate job descriptions is also vital to your company’s success. All employees like to know what is expected of them and how they will be evaluated. Creating an effective job description also helps determine how a particular job relates to others and identifies the characteristics needed by a new employee filling the role. A job description typically outlines the necessary skills, training and education needed by a potential employee.

In order to help improve your job descriptions, here are three key responsibilities that are often not included in a manager’s job description but should be:

  1. Develops and maintains a high-performing, self-motivated and self-sufficient team
  2. Develops a compelling vision for the team in line with/supportive of the overall corporate vision
  3. Ensures timely and effective communication of key corporate and team initiatives, goals, challenges, etc.

Item number one is by far the most important responsibility of any manager, while the second and third points are important items in building great corporate culture.

Any candidate interviews for a management position should include asking about their experiences and the successes/challenges in undertaking these responsibilities in the past. You might also ask them how they would approach these responsibilities if they were to be hired by you. Remember to include all three aforementioned points when creating your upcoming manager job descriptions and you’ll be on the right path to attract the best candidates for your business.

In the next article of the series, I will discuss how to complete effective reference checking and the use of personality profiles. Stay tuned.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article, please email Terry Thompson at tesh@shaw.ca ©