The Art of Interviewing

It’s just a fact that at some point within all of our lives we will find ourselves either conducting an interview or being interviewed. If you are a hiring manager, business owner or other executive, you’ll need to hire people to work with and for you. And if you are a job seeker, you’ll want to ensure that you ask good questions so you can find out as much information as possible about the company you hope to work for.

Interviewing is not something everyone is good at, nor should everyone in your company be allowed to interview. You want to use managers and executives that are not afraid to chat with potential candidates and can interject interview questions in more of a conversation verses an interrogation! You also want to ensure that your hiring managers are trained in behavioral interviewing and are aware of what motivators, attributes and behaviors are needed for the role the applicant is interviewing for.

A best practice in interviewing is to set up the interview day where each hiring manager knows exactly which question(s) they are responsible for asking and what they should be looking for in terms of the past behaviors the applicant exhibited. This way you don’t have every manager ask the dreaded, “So tell me about yourself” question. And it also ensures you’ll get the detail you need to know if the person interviewing is really a match for the specific role.

Dr. Wendell Williams stated in an article he wrote that behavioral interviews can be accurate, but only when done right.  He notes that the only question you can get an accurate answer to is one where you ask the individual to tell you about a specific time or event the job seeker was involved in. Such as, “Tell me about a time you had a project run over budget?” Then you want to follow up with other probing questions such as, “How did you handle the situation? Who else was involved? What specifically did you do?” This way you get to the very specifics of how the individual handled the situation and steps they took which led to a specific outcome.

You want to alleviate interviewer bias or the halo effect and ensure you are hiring the right person for the right role. Take a few minutes to really formulate your behavioral questions and decide what information you want to know about your applicants past experience. If you use a pre-hire employee assessment, you can formulate questions around the attributes listed for the job.

The bottom line is, “Behavioral interviewing has a long history of effectiveness few of us are capable of improving on.”