Ahhh, the good old fashioned interview!

If you have been reading some of my recent posts, you know I have been spending a lot of time observing how people pitch their services in meetings at coffee shops. Today, I have the distinct pleasure of listening in on an interview for a team member that is hoping to become a surpervisor.

This takes me back to my own experiences with interviewing people.

In this, I always felt in a multi store operation, consistency was critical with the questions being asked. I also believe it is critical that we ask the right questions. Questions that actually led to something. Something that reflected our company core values.

However, in this… I always try to approach the interview with those “pre-determined” questions engraved in my heart. In this, I wanted to send a message that this is who we are and these questions matter so much, that I don’t need my notes to ask them. Quite frankly, I think we only dust off the question lists when we actually perform an interview and then we get back to business as usual.

But, shouldn’t these questions be core to how we spend each day? How often do we audit these questions to see how effectively we actually reflect these questions? Quite frankly, these questions, if they are so critical to have them written down and that everybody who conducts interviews uses them, shouldn’t we all have them down pat? Shouldn’t these questions be plastered all over the back wall in the break room?

I too, also enjoyed in the interview process looking for opportunities to expand the discussion. In this, I also want to look for what gets this potential employee or team leader excited. I want to see what gets the person sitting up in their seat. I want to see what they are passionate about.

Of course, if I have done a good job with describing the opening, then it will allow me to best discern who the best fits would be based on their cover letters, resumes, etc. This way, I can weed through all the applications and seek to invite in the ones that appear to be a match.

Also, I am always interested to see what the ratio is between the interviewer and interviewee as to who speaks the most during the interview. Sometimes, as interviewers, the temptation is to not shut up. Who is this interview about anyway? How about asking a question and getting out of the way. Stop trying to answer the question for them. Shouldn’t we be listening to how they answer and be looking for strategic follow up questions? One’s that either draw on strengths or weaknesses?

In this day and age… we can no longer “wing” the interview process due to being a desperate employer. Why? Because there are a lot of desperate potential employees out there. When the two mix… not good.

With this interview today… even though how the questions were being asked were way too mechanical, they didn’t do too bad. Quite frankly, I think the interviewee did an exceptional job with their responses and really showing some confidence. The interviewee did pick up on some points that she felt she needed to give her advice on. But, then again… was this all of a sudden a performance evaluation or an interview?

When the interview was complete, they both got up, exchanged pleasantries, and went their own way. An hour from now, will any of these questions be on anyone’s mind? For sure, the potential candidate as they over analyze their performance. But, for the employer… business as usual. Time to file those questions away for the next interview and probably not to be thought of again until then.

Well, that’s my observation and ramble.

Oh, one other thing that I observed from this interview… when conducting an interview… don’t ever dress in attire that you wouldn’t wear to work.

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One response »

  1. Andrew Laine says:

    True story – I once didn’t hire someone because they showed up for the interview in a white t-shirt and jeans, with no plausible excuse for doing so. Had it been a spur of the moment interview, I might’ve let it slide, but he showed up after the interview had been scheduled a week like that.

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