RSI Management Matters

The Key to Hiring Stellar Candidates June 1st, 2010


The Key to Hiring Stellar Candidates

Performing well in an interview is really what makes or breaks a candidate’s potential with a specific company. The interview process is also very important for employers who are not only trying to find a candidate with the credentials to perform, but also the right cultural fit for the company. Although interviews can give employers an idea of how the candidate may perform on the job, is it really letting employers know how everybody is going to perform on the job? According to Nick Corcodilos, author of Ask the Headhunter: Reinventing the Interview to Win the Job, “There’s absolutely no correlation between how well a candidate interviews and how well (he or) she performs on the job.” There are several different types of interviews that are used by employers across the country including the traditional and the behavioral interview. According to Nick there is a better way of judging how an employee will perform on the job and it is known as the “hands on, at-work meeting.”

The traditional interview is made up of a bunch of straightforward questions that help an employer get to know a candidate’s background. This type of interview is a great way for an employer to judge the qualifications of a candidate but it does not really give the employer insight into how well the candidate will perform on the job. Traditional interviews also do not do a very good job of judging how the employee will react in different situations. Since the questions are usually factual and require a very direct answer, they really do not allow the interviewee the opportunity to divulge extra information, which would allow the interviewer to gain insight into the interviewee’s thought process.

Some typical traditional interview questions include:

  • +Tell me about your last job.
  • + Why did you leave your last position?
  • + What were your primary responsibilities?

The behavioral interview, on the other hand, allows the interviewer to gather information about the interviewee’s savvy at handling different situations. Behavioral interview questions can be great insight into how the individual that is being interviewed handles different situations and their thought processes.

Some typical behavioral interview questions include:

  • +Tell me about a time when you had a conflict with a coworker. How did you resolve it?
  • +Tell me about a successful project you completed. What important steps did you take to make it successful?
  • +Describe work you’ve had to do under pressure.

A combination between asking behavioral questions and traditional questions is generally the standard in today’s interviews. The only problem with these types of questions is that job candidates are becoming more and more programmed to generate “cookie cutter” answers in order to impress the interviewer. With all of the knowledge available on the internet there are websites that are ready to provide even the most mundane candidates with the answers that they will need in order to succeed in an interview. What employers should really be doing is asking candidates to perform some of the typical job tasks during the interview.

According to Nick Corcodilos, the best way to interview a candidate is what he refers to as the “hands-on, at-work meeting.” This is the only true way of determining before-hand whether or not an employee can get the job done. Before bringing a candidate in for the interview, prepare them for the opportunity to show you how they can do the job, instead of referring to it as an interview. Provide them with a list of problems and challenges that the company faces and that they will face in the role for which they are applying for. This way they can come ready to the hands-on interview with ideas that will help to improve the company. Also structure a day’s work for this individual so that he or she can demonstrate their ability to complete the common tasks of the job.

For hiring managers that are still skeptical about having an on the job interview scenario, you should still hold traditional interviews for the first couple of stages. After having a couple of interviews to really get to know your potential candidate, and before you hire them, it would really be beneficial to bring that individual in and see how he/she performs in an on the job scenario. This will help to diversify your interview techniques and as a result, it will provide the decision maker with an array of additional information about the candidate’s ability to perform the common tasks required for the opportunity.


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