“It always seems like I don’t have time to prepare when we interview candidates,” complained Paula. “I don’t even have the time to write a job description for the open position. I know we are supposed to, I just don’t have the time.”
“Paula, whether you want to or not, you will spend the time,” I replied.
“What do you mean?”
“As the manager, you will either spend the time on the front end creating the job description, defining the necessary skills and behaviors, or you will spend the time on the back end trying to shape the person you hired into a role that you never defined clearly in the first place.
“You get to choose where you want to spend your time, on the front end or the back end.”
“Did you ask about preparation?” I asked.
“Preparation? You mean planning? I asked questions about planning,” Erin replied. “And that’s why I am concerned. The person we hired had created a number of plans. Project plans, operational plans, personnel plans. But now, in the role, this person is failing.”
“Preparation is different from planning,” I suggested. “We can plan til the cows come home, but if we are not prepared, life will take us sideways. Did you ask about preparation?”
“I am not sure what you mean,” Erin was curious.
“There are some things we can plan for, but many things that are out of our control. We cannot plan for those things out of our control, we can only prepare. Some people can face the same challenge ten times, but on the eleventh time, are still not prepared. Others can face a brand new challenge, one they could not have planned for, yet they can handle the uncertainty, because they are prepared. Did you ask about preparation?”
This is the sixth in our series, Six Sins in the Hiring Interview.
This series is a prelude to our Hiring Talent Summer Camp.
Getting Beat in the Paint
Hiring Managers don’t interview candidates often enough, to get good at it, are seldom trained to conduct effective interviews and rely on faulty assumptions throughout the entire process. As Managers, we are totally unprepared. We ask the wrong questions and allow our stereotypes to get in the way. We end up making a decision within the first three minutes of the interview, based on misinterpretations and incomplete data.
The candidates we face have been coached by headhunters, trained through role play, and are intent on beating the interviewer in a game of cat and mouse. They stayed up late practicing their answers, polished their shoes and showed up early. Their preparation is thorough. Though they have scant qualifications for your open position, they are ready to beat you in the paint.
Our Hiring Talent Summer Camp begins Monday, June 18, 2012. It’s online. Don’t get beat in the paint.