Choose a Better Interviewer, Not More Interviewers

October 30th, 2014

When hiring for key positions, it’s commonplace to ask others to participate in candidate interviews. Single candidates may be interviewed by HR, a peer, a level up, a manager from another department, etc.

This is thought to be beneficial, providing better decisions. However, most of the time it just serves to muddy the water. The interviewers may not be skilled or trained in effective interviewing techniques.  Some may just not be comfortable in the interviewer role and may rush the meeting or stick to standard questions without much forethought.

With little to go on but the job description, they may use it as a checklist, but really not understand what is required to either get or do the job.  Unskilled interviewers may be unable to give effective feedback on a candidate, either evaluating candidates by what they assume the hot buttons of the position are or just providing a general sense of liking or not liking a candidate.

Anatomy of an Effective Interviewer

  • Formally trained in interviewing techniques.
  • Know they are responsible for gathering data to validate the candidate or rule them out.
  • Understand the acquired data determines company interest, not gut feeling or whether the candidate sells themselves or not.
  • Educated on the drill-down process to ferret out the most critical information.
  • Has an in-depth knowledge of the vacancy and understands the purpose of the position.

When multiple interviewers are involved, it frequently takes only one “no” vote to veto a viable candidate. Consensus is not always the most effective way of determining the best candidate. Interview results are more accurate when interviews are conducted by teams of interviewers (2-3 interviewers at the same time). And no votes should be vetted by the interviewing leader (hiring manager).

The Importance of Buy-in

The interviewer must understand what business need is being filled by the position and everything the position entails. They are ideally an interviewing expert and can steer the conversation to elicit the information necessary. They know the correct follow up questions to move the candidate beyond “interview mode” and into a real conversation. Once in that mode, real data can be acquired.

Selling the Job

Top candidates may have many opportunities. Your position may be just one of them. An understanding of the role, the challenges, and impact available will allow the interviewer to have a candid discussion about the desirability of the role. Drilling down also helps determine the candidate’s key motivators  and connect them to the opportunity offered.

Leverage our Expertise

At Honer and Associates, we are hiring and interviewing experts. With more than thirty years of effective interviewing, our process can help you to hire more effectively. Contact us today to learn more.

Efficient Selection and Hiring Process Also Includes an Efficient Offer and Acceptance Process

December 13th, 2013

A successful talent acquisition and selection process can’t exist without an efficient offer and acceptance process.

Money changes the rules of the game – always has and always will.  When an offer is extended, decision-making gets emotional unless managed.  Money brings emotion.  When a hiring manager makes a hiring decision or when a candidate contemplates a new position, all focus (on any/all decisions) must be on keeping everything logical, and emotions at bay.

Most companies’ hiring processes prioritize screening, interviewing, and selecting the “right” candidate, even if ineffective.  In other words, focus is centered on “going through the list” and determining the best fit, the best candidate, the closest match, or the “one” that interviewed the best.

The process participants may calibrate judgment, but once a “yes” decision focuses on a particular candidate, a flurry of movement to formulate a salary offer is initiated, approved, finalized, and ultimately the result presented to the candidate.

Most of the people involved with this process flow simply bog down the process.  The offer – in many cases – is made by someone who has never met or even talked to the candidate before, but wants to control the decision.  Issues like 401K matches, at-risk bonuses, PTO days, etc. have never been covered.  Only a simple salary offer is made. One client stated that it was against Corporate Policy to discuss benefits before the offer was accepted. Does that sound sane?

However, compensation is so much more than simple “grocery money” salary.

As posted out in my last blog, one last meeting needs to be added to the process- before the formal offer is made.  This meeting, while used to judge the candidate’s fit and motivation, can also be used to pin down one of the most important pieces of the process, a fair and equitable compensation package in the eyes of the candidate.

Money and the offer package is intrinsically tied to value – the value that a candidate feels the company places on them.  A low-ball offer tells the candidate that there is no value placed on them and can completely deflate any excitement that the person may have for the opportunity.

Use the last meeting to ask some questions …with sensitivity…to get a feel for the candidate’s fit.  Can the candidate do the job and succeed?  Are you providing a challenging enough opportunity where the candidate can make a positive impact?  Assumptions and “blue-sky” or “too skinny” salary offers can derail the entire process.  The hiring manager, must have a grasp of the person’s needs and motivations. If not, a prize candidate may be lost to miscommunication and a misunderstood value proposition.

As mentioned before, a level of sensitivity needs to be brought to the candidate side of the equation, starting with sincere communication about an offer that will work, prior an internal process kicking off and making offers that are all driven by company needs and standards. Knowing where the candidate is coming from and what is in everyone’s best interest delivers value. That information will produce offers that will “work”, instead of numbers out of the air and a hope that the candidate thinks it is as good for them as it is for the company.

At Honer and Associates, we know how to quickly progress through the offer and acceptance process.  We have helped companies – of all shapes and sizes – hire the most motivated, talented people in the IT industry.  Contact us today!

Why Passive Candidates Now

September 30th, 2013

Before the recession of the early 1990’s, companies were hesitant to lay off workers – they shied away to avoid any possible public backlash.

However, in the early 90’s, many had no choice.  They were simply broken and required drastic measures to repair themselves.

Down-sizing, right-sizing, and mass layoffs were born.

After 20 years of downsizing, rightsizing, outsourcing, laying off and economic downturns, industry leaders have now realized that most of the top performers – the people they want to hire for their organization – are engaged and working for someone else, not available and unemployed because they were laid off (exceptions do occur, but call them “needles in haystacks”)

They know this because when they downsized (or right-sized or laid off) they did not cut their best.  The best employees left when they became disenchanted over poor company performance, lack of opportunities, or were recruited for a “grass is greener” opportunity.

The key in identifying, attracting, selecting and hiring these desirable passive candidates is by recognizing the difference in their frame of mind – from their active counterparts and most hiring managers – during the hiring process.

First, they have to be identified.  These passive candidates are not looking for other opportunities consciously.  They have to be found.  You can find out who they are by using public sources, referrals and confidential information.  The information is plentiful and accessible; it is simply time-consuming to process.

However, the true job of recruiting – or talent acquisition – in 2013 is not one of candidate identification, as it was 10+ years ago.  It is one of candidate recognition.

There is no secret sauce to locating highly qualified candidates.  The introduction of LinkedIn, resume databases and (even) Google has taken care of that.  The true skill comes in candidate recognition, or being able to recognize the high performers and what is required from a performance profile standpoint.  In other words, the true job of a recruiter is to recognize and validate the “caliber of the candidate”.

A recruiters job well done is to steer the interview process and assist in making sure all the bases are touched.  All candidates should be thoroughly screened and interviewed, but it is important for the interviewers to remember they must sell both their job opportunity and the company to passive candidates.

These candidates may not come to the interview dressed in their best suit and tie, look you in the eye, shake hands aggressively, etc.  They may not be articulate and sell themselves around the job. Company interviewers who expect this behavior are still interviewing in the past when a surplus of candidates existed, and the game was to weed out the losers. We are now dealing with a scarcity of high-caliber candidates, and the same interviewing process will lose more passive candidates than they will hire.  The candidate has also come to gather information, find out about the company, position, who it reports to, etc.  The candidate’s interest must be addressed to further the hiring process.

Finally, it is necessary to make more than fair salary offers when possible.  Salary equates to value, and passive candidates need to feel valued if they are going to make any type of career move and leave their current position.

So if you are serious about hiring only the best candidates for every key position, work with Honer and Associates.  Our specialty is knowing how to identify, attract, select and hire the best and brightest.  Contact us today!