How to Interview for a Sense of Urgency

From the Ask Tom mailbag –

We find it difficult to interview for some of the soft skills. Our operation moves very fast. One of the things we need to know before hiring a candidate, is, can they keep up. What is their sense of urgency?

You can effectively interview for anything you can connect to a behavior. Soft skill, hard skill, attitude, character trait. Translate it into a behavior, then interview for the behavior. It sounds difficult, but not with Barry Shamis’ magic question, “How does a person with (this character trait) behave?” Then interview for this behavior.

You asked about sense of urgency. How does a person with a sense of urgency behave? Then interview for that behavior.

  • Show up early.
  • Plan the project ahead of time.
  • Inspect progress frequently.
  • Always works on high priority elements.

Now interview for those behaviors.

  • Tell me about a past project where time was of the essence?
  • Tell about the specific need for speed on the project?
  • What were the expectations on your personnel?
  • What factors slowed the progress of the project?
  • What did you do to expedite progress?
  • How often did you meet with your personnel?
  • Step me through your agenda in that meeting?
  • What were the project priorities?
  • How did those priorities change during the project?
  • How did you communicate the change in priorities to the rest of the team?

The responses you get to these questions, though strictly about observable behavior, will give the interviewer a clear insight into the sense of urgency in the candidate.
Registration continues this week for our next online program Hiring Talent. For more information, follow this link – Hiring Talent.

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