There are loads of resources available on the web about what to say, what not to say, preparing to interview a candidate, legal and illegal questions, etc., so there is no need for us to reiterate the basics here. This brief article focuses on the importance of digging for evidence of results from the candidates we interview, and will explain why a candidate who focuses on results will make the biggest difference for their new employer.
Any candidate worth taking the time to meet will be able to tell you something positive about themselves and their character, such as “I’m a diligent worker,” “I’ve always been a team player,” or even boldly proclaiming, “I’m the right person for this job.” The candidate may even show a bit of evidence of their abilities by doing research on the company and coming prepared with a few questions about the job. These are all good qualities. The self-confidence to speak highly of his or herself will be critical to pushing through change and improvements at their new company, and doing their homework before the interview is surely more than the effort some candidates show. The challenge is that these traits do not always translate into consistent execution and positive results year-after-year, and isn’t that what we are looking for in a new team member? A high-performer who shows results not just in the first 90 days, but in every subsequent 90 day period?! The first step to determining if the candidate we are interviewing can produce results consistently is to find out what results they’re currently producing!
This interview approach of asking for evidence and testimony of past performance is often called “Behavioral Interviewing,” and is focused on finding specific examples where the candidate drove success in the workplace. The right questions to elicit this evidence of performance often start with the phrase, “Tell me about a time when. . .” or “Give me an example of when. . .” Many websites will have excellent lists of these kinds of questions. The challenge of this type of interviewing is that many times we tend not to want to “put people on the spot” by asking for them to recall specific examples, or we forgive them too easily when they can’t come up with something. That’s unacceptable. If a candidate being interviewed is truly a high performer but isn’t “great on their feet” they still cannot be excused. Any consistently high performer attending an interview will know that they’ll be asked for examples of their performance, and would expect to be held accountable for quantifying their performance with examples—and they will be prepared. So ask for examples, give them time to think if necessary or even offer to let them follow up if they’re truly stumped, but don’t let them off the hook!
If you’d like to leverage our experience finding and evaluating candidates so you can get started interviewing with the right people, contact us now and let us know how we can help.