How to hire well

Are you hiring new staff now or in the future? It might be a good time to brush up on your interviewing and recruitment skills to make sure you choose well. 

Lucky for you if you are reading this article, this is one of my specialities so I have some top tips that can set you and your candidates off on the right foot and allow you to dig deep in your interviews to get the best insight; rather than just skating along on the surface and not getting a good understanding of the person on the other side of the desk (or other side of the screen). 

Poor recruitment decisions are very stressful and costly, not to mention all the time wasted in realising that the person you have recruited is probably not the person you thought they were going to be and not performing in the role the way you had believed they would when you optimistically sent them a job contract. 

Candidates can look amazing on paper, but it is in the interview, that you really need to figure out if they have the skills required for the job and if they are going to be a ‘good fit’ for the role, team and business at hand.

In my book Precision Recruitment Skills, which is just as relevant today as when I first wrote it many years ago, I suggest recruiters need to do some serious ‘fluff busting’ in interviews. In answers, many people tend to give general answers that really don’t give enough insight for the interviewer to get the full picture. Here are some example of how to bust the fluff, or cut through the fluff, to get to the true meaning of their answers. 

  1. Fluffy nouns – you can dig deeper by asking them to be specific. Eg: “I want a new job” can be greeted with “What job, specifically?”
  2. Fluffy verbs – dig deeper when these are used. Eg “I managed the project” can be greeted with “How exactly did you manage it?”
  3. Rules – People have rules for themselves which are revealed though words they may use such as “should”, “shouldn’t”, “must”, “have to” “can’t” etc.. When confronted by a rule it is often useful to probe further to find out why the rule exists, how the candidate builds rules for themselves and to expand the limit of their thinking.
  4. Generalisations – bust the fluff of a generalisation (revealed through words such ‘never’ ‘all’ ‘always’) by repeating the word to them, as a question. Eg: “All managers turn against me” can be met with “All?”. This particular pointer needs to be handled with sensitivity and usually requires some built up rapport for the respondent to elaborate. Another, softer approach is to ask “Can you think of a time where you had a manager who didn’t turn against you?”
  5. Comparisons – people tend to compare themselves to others without even noticing and this can be exposed by words such as “better”, “worse”, “easier” etc… Again you can dig a little deeper here by asking them to elaborate eg: “you were better in what way?”

Another great technique is to ask more open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to provide more thoughtful answers that simple one word answers. 

Closed-ended questions have their part for more information gathering purposes and has the interview in the driver’s seat. 

Open-ended questions allow the candidate to lead the direction of the interview more and provide snippets of incredible insight if guided well by the interviewer. 

Generally, people either have a preference for content or context. Someone who has a preference for content will give short answers to questions, whereas someone with a preference for context, will provide more detailed and elaborate responses to the same question. 

Being able to recognise the preferred response type that a candidate has and adjusting the amount of open or closed questions accordingly can quickly steer the interview into a controlled framework, leaving you in control of effectively gathering the information you need within the timeframe you have. 

If your candidate gives more content responses, ask more open questions and less closed questions. If you get context responses, ask less open questions and more closed questions.

So many people don’t interview others well. They go into the interview with their set questions and ask the questions and then listen to the answers; waiting their turn to roll out the next question. Go into an interview curious to find out about the person you are interviewing and using some of these techniques. 

Could you and your leadership team benefit from one of my tailored workshops? I’d love to share my experience and fool-proof leadership techniques with you. Don’t hesitate. Get in touch today. 

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