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Interviewing Outside the Box

By November 15, 2013 No Comments

professionals at lunchOnce you’ve got a candidate in the door or on the phone for an interview, the assessment can kick into high gear.  The person’s credentials and experience were impressive enough to warrant a conversation, but some questions remain.  Will this person mesh well with your team?  What are his or her capabilities?  What are some key strengths?  What can’t this person do?

If you’re going to glean much of value from your relatively brief face-to-face, you’d better let the candidate do most of the talking.  Do you dominate the conversation in an interview?  Rookie mistake, but it’s easy to do.

Recruiter.com recently published an article offering several interviewing strategies to avoid this very problem.

Have the candidate deliver a short presentation.  This takes the focus off Q&A and allows the interviewee space to demonstrate knowledge of a particular subject area, as well as an ability to communicate on the matter.  It can also offer a window into the candidate’s personality.

Take a tour around the office.  Best done after you’ve determined that the candidate is a real contender, a stroll around the office lets the interviewee see the team in action and meet potential co-workers.  This is an ideal opportunity to observe how the candidate interacts with others and whether his or her temperament might be a good fit with the staff you’ve already got in place.

Treat the interviewee to lunch.  Again, save this for when you only have a few candidates left in the running.  Set up an informal lunch with your prospective hire and a few select team members and you’ll be able to get to know more about him or her when the pressure is off.

Put the candidate to the test.  If you’re hiring for a role in which the candidate needs certain technical skills or must come to the job with an established understanding of certain standards, you’re likely to garner better information from an aptitude test than from detailed questioning.

Request samples.  While this isn’t a viable solution for many roles, candidates in more creative fields often have portfolios at the ready.  Those who don’t may still be able to provide examples of their work if asked to do so.  Have the candidate explain challenges associated with the projects and indicate what was done to address the issues.

Give the candidate a trial exercise.  Have your potential hire perform an actual task he or she would be required to handle if granted the position.  But be sure your instructions and expectations are clear so that ambiguity isn’t standing in the way of the candidate’s success, resulting in a flawed view of his or her abilities.  This method, often thought to be the most reliable candidate assessment, allows observation on your part and exposure to the job on the candidate’s.

Published by Conselium Executive Search, the global leader in compliance search.  
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