Engagement Practice _ 12: Follow a Purposeful and Rigorous Interview Process

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Most companies with excellent track records for keeping a high percentage

of the people they hire use a highly focused and systematic interviewing

process and have trained all hiring managers to follow the process religiously.

Here are some of the most effective components that these companies

use:

Train all hiring managers in ‘‘behavioral interviewing.’’ This means that

the company must first make the commitment to thoroughly analyze

each job in terms of critical success factors, and have hiring managers

develop questions that require applicants to respond with stories of

how they demonstrated those success factors in their past experiences.

Most behavioral questions will be asked in the form of, ‘‘Tell

me about a time when you . . .’’—as in, ‘‘Tell me about a time when

you had to deal with a difficult customer and how you did it.’’ If an

applicant does not have a story to tell, it is quite difficult to make one

up on the spot. Well-qualified applicants can usually come up with

illustrative stories to tell right away, while unsuitable candidates

cannot.

The principle that makes this method effective is that actual past

behavior accurately predicts future behavior. Companies considering

use of behavioral interviewing should realize that it requires discipline

for a manager who is in a hurry to fill a position to slow down

enough to create behavioral questions and remember to conduct a

behavioral interview with every hire. Human resource staff can be

valuable partners by assisting with the pre-employment job analysis

and the preparation of behavioral questions.

Use multiple interviewers. The chances of hiring the right person go up

when several interested parties are invited to participate in interviewing

candidates. The interviewing team typically consists of peers and

others with whom the new hire will have frequent interaction. It is

a good way to involve team members in an important decision process

while also getting valuable input and differing perspectives from

those with a vested interest in seeing the right person hired.

Whether done by having serial one-on-one interviews or with the

interviewee facing a panel, it is highly recommended that the interviewing

team meet beforehand to plan what questions will be asked,

how, and by whom. Afterward, the team will need to meet and

discuss each candidate as well.