Am I the only person who thinks interviews need to be revised? I can’t begin to tell you how many interviews I have had in the last year. I feel like I can become a coach on how to conduct interviews, how to solicit certain responses, how to interview, and how to better conduct interviews.
I think my personal favourite interviews so far are with recruiters. (Oh the irony, as I once was a recruiter and I hated it). But not just any recruiter; a recruiter who knew the organization inside and out. A recruiter who knew the challenges an organization is facing and is hiring the skillset for this position to assist in solving the problem. Think about it from an interviewee standpoint. You never quite know all the challenges you will be facing going into a new role. It can be something as simple as, the culture of the organization, the people that work there, the process etc. Sometimes this can be deal breakers. I find, with recruiters, they are very upfront about all of this so you get an idea of what you will be dealing with before you join an organization. Their questions are also very direct and pointed. They are looking for particular skillsets. I also think having a coaching element to is absolutely key.
I had another interview where it was very process driven. Tell me of a time when you had to implement a new program. Describe your process. What did you do? What did you learn? Etc. This is a great question to ask as it will showcase how the candidate will walk through the exercise. It will also illustrate experience. However, DO NOT make this the whole interview.
Now to the do not dos. Do NOT. Absolutely DO NOT ask 10 questions in 1 question. I hate these questions. Think about it. You are interviewing someone who has to share parts of their life with you. You can be considerate about it. They’re probably nervous as well. Ask one question at a time.
Everyone introduces themselves. I once had a panel of 6 people interview me and only one person introduced each person on screen. Can you imagine how nerve wracking this is? I can’t get a feel for the people, the platform, etc. Also, I am not a titles driven person. This probably stems from my early on exposure to an impactful person in my life. She had big titles, Chief Privacy Officer and Director of Health Information Management however, I learned with her titles are meaningless. Your work matters. But when people introduce themselves and share a bit of themselves it also allows the candidate to feel at ease.
The one question I always hate answering is: what do you know about us? What response are you hoping to get from this answer? That I’ve researched your organization? Sure. I do. However, what I as a candidate care more about is where you are actually going, what you are actually doing, and what the culture is like in an organization. I love it when an organization talks about themselves, their departments, their goals etc. after introducing themselves. Think about it from this perspective. You are arming this person with more information that your website and you are giving them a chance to see how you communicate. You set the tone of the interview and set the pace. To me, this also deduces time wasting as you can get to heart of your questions.
Another do not is where do you see yourself in 5 years. I can’t help but always question what are you really going after? Are you hoping I’ll stay at an organization and grow? Are you hoping to hear that I’m ambitious and want to climb the ladder? As a recruiter do you not realize people are coached extensively on how to answer these questions. But realistically this question is also meaningless because life changes constantly and always. Heck, did covid not teach this to us?
I think what I am trying to get at is there are ways to making the interview process easier and better. A formula if you will, 1. Small talk. Break down defenses. Get the person to relax. 2.Introductions (and please have everyone introduce themselves and add some skin into the game as well), setting tone of meeting, lay out the agenda etc. 3. Describe the organization. Outside of just research. 3. Interview. Ask one question at a time. Make sure your questions really target a skillset or trait you are looking for. 4. Open the floor for questions. 5. End off with next steps.
To be honest though, I would treat the interview quite informally. I would take the time to get to know as much about that person as possible. I would treat it like you were getting to know a person on a date at a coffee shop. Defenses are a bit down, you want to know each other, keep it light etc. Am I on the wrong track here?