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

Managing Corporate Culture article series

This article will discuss how to conduct an effective job interview when looking to add to your team, and how to avoid the common mistake made by inexperienced interviewers.

Many people do not truly understand the objectives of a good interview or how to go about conducting one. The objectives of an interview are:

1. To gain a good understanding of the candidate in relation to their:

  • Level of self-motivation (i.e. takes the initiative), ability to self-manage and problem solve
  • Fit with desired corporate culture
  • Emotional intelligence

Note: The recruiters should have already checked out and confirmed their education, training, skills and experience.

2. Get the names of people who would be good references that the candidate does not already have on their list.

3. To ensure the candidate has a good understanding about what your organization is all about (its opportunities, challenges, values, culture etc.)

4. On occasion, when it appears that the candidate is not a good fit, to gain the names of other people they know who might be good candidates.

Many inexperienced interviewers view an interview as an inconvenience or as an opportunity to sell the position rather than achieve the above-listed objectives. As a result, they do much of the talking rather than LISTENING and asking questions. Remember, the person who asks the questions controls the interview. The main goal of these interviewers is to get the interviewing and hiring process completed and they may assume the recruiting people to have taken care of all of the rest. This is a BIG MISTAKE and one that I made many times until I figured out what I was doing wrong.

When I realized my mistake, instead of using the interview to sell the position to the candidate I took the approach (in a respectful manner) that the candidate needed to prove to me that he or she deserved the position. In doing so, my entire approach changed. I became more of a detective seeking strengths and weaknesses in the candidate. I attempted to bring a constructive (and respectful) skepticism to the answers given by the candidate. I asked the candidate for examples of what they were saying about themselves and people who could substantiate their assertions. I probed further at things that did not make complete sense to me. Taking this approach to interviews significantly improved my ability to meet my objectives.

In the next article I will provide details regarding how to conduct this sort of interview.

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

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