Tag Archives: interview skills

Who Controls the Interview

Kimberly almost chuckled. “What do you mean, I have power? I’m the one being interviewed for the job. How do I control that?”

“Actually, it’s pretty easy,” I said. “And understand this is not through some trickery or fancy technique, but by doing two simple things.” Kimberly was all ears.

“Since most people who conduct interviews don’t know much about hiring, you have an opportunity to help them make a better decision, and, as a candidate, it usually gives you a leg up.”

“So, what are the two things?” Kimberly prompted.

“First is to find out what the decision criteria will be based on, what knowledge, skills and abilities will be required for the job.”

“How will I find that out?”

“Ask questions, direct questions about the processes, how things work and what is expected.”

“Okay, I think I can do that,” Kimberly said confidently.

“The second thing is to draw the conversation back to specific examples of what you have done, in the past, related to those skills and abilities.”

“It sounds too simple,” she protested.

“Indeed, and it’s what the interviewer should be doing in the first place. Only by defining the specific skills and behaviors for success and then supporting those with real past experience, can the interviewer make an effective decision. And, as the candidate who helped that process along, you will have the upper hand.”

How Long Does It Take to Know (if a new employee will make it)?

“I’m just not good at this,” Janice explained. “Over the past two years, I have hired seven people on my team. You would think I would get better at picking people, but this last hire is just another example of my inability to figure someone out in the interview process.”

“What is it that you are trying to figure out?” I asked.

“Whether this candidate would be any good for the job,” she replied. “I don’t have a lot of time to train and coach, though that seems to be what I do most of, when I am not engaged in damage control.”

“Damage control?”

“New recruits always screw up. And most of the time, they screw up in front of the customer. Damage control. Then, train and coach. At some point, I figure out, the new recruit is just not suited to the position. I get frustrated, and they either quit or I have to let them go.”

“How long does it take to figure that out?”

“Sometimes, it’s quick, a couple of weeks, but, as a matter of policy, we normally give a new hire the benefit of the doubt during a ninety day probation period,” she sighed.

“In what way could you have a high confidence level in the candidate’s success on the first day they show up?”