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.

Job Descriptions Don’t Produce the Best Candidates. Here’s Why.

October 15th, 2014

Most job descriptions are produced by human resources department and have little to do with identifying and attracting high-caliber, top-performing candidates. Although job descriptions are posted on websites and expected to motivate and attract these prospects, content doesn’t match the intent. Normally a common job description defines the following:

  • Scope of the role
  • Skills required (4 years of X, 5 years of Y)
  • Technologies required (4 years of X, 5 years of Y)
  • Education required

Job descriptions are a natural de-motivator as they are derived from the employers viewpoint, providing nothing to intrigue the candidate. They only furnish information about what the candidate “must have”, and provides no information of interest to the candidate. It also limits the candidate’s motivation to pursue the opportunity, as it creates a profile of the ideal candidate – one who doesn’t exist.

Why would a top-performer respond to a posting they aren’t qualified for? Only hungry candidates hoping to get a sniff at an opportunity apply, leaving the high-caliber, passive candidate excelling in their current positions and ignoring the un-interesting information presented in the job description. And from the company standpoint, no matter how extensive the screening process, no single candidate will ever measure up. Each interviewer has to make it up on their own, it’s just not a good barometer for judging who fits the role.

What is the Alternative to a Job Description?

Develop a Candidate Profile. Identify the necessary information to market the position (to the desired candidates), provide education for interviewers about job content/ requirements, and determine the ideal candidate experience necessary to excel in the role.

  • What is the purpose of the position?
  • Define the scope of responsibility.
  • What needs to be accomplished in the first twelve to eighteen months?
  • Uncover the challenges and hurdles looming in the future.
  • Determine critical competency/competencies necessary.
  • Spell out the definition of success.

Human nature promotes an inclination to look for candidates who have already accomplished everything they will be expected to do in the role. But that is misguided. The upper twenty percent candidates – the talent acquisition targets ­– aren’t satisfied with what they have already done and are looking for new challenges. But they don’t want to stretch so far as to seem incompetent.

For best results, identify the competency necessary to excel in the role, i.e., not necessarily the skills or technical products utilized in position.  Top candidates are motivated by challenge, gaining new experience, and making an impact; not becoming a complacent employee doing the exact same thing in their new role as they did in their last.

At Honer and Associates, we know how to produce the best candidates for your search. Trust us to find talented, eager-to-learn professionals who will improve your organization from the first day on the job. Contact Honer and Associates today.

5 Reasons Why The Leadership Team is Key to the Success of the Organization?

February 15th, 2014

As stated in a previous blog, senior leadership creates the primary drivers of company success or failure. The buck stops with them….on many different fronts.

Strategy and vision for hiring top-quality staff ranks at the top, followed by the execution, and proper management/oversight of the strategy and vision. In other words, the leadership team must not only set the hiring strategy and create the vision but also be instrumental in the governance of the actual talent acquisition.

To highlight, here are 5 key actions the company’s leadership team can initiate — through their role in the hiring process — optimizing keys to organizational performance in acquiring high-caliber, proven top-performing talent.

  1. Direct the development of a hiring strategy and vision. This may be referred to as a Talent Acquisition Strategy. It needs to cover how each position will be filled, the hiring process, interviewing methods, who participates in interviews with different levels of candidates, communication with the candidates, offer process, and on-boarding are a few examples.
  2. Set the pace by taking action in line with the strategy for positions reporting directly to them. They must set the example of executing the strategy and get it right, both by the results achieved and by the process followed to generate the results. Everyone hiring and involved in interviews must have training and follow the designed process.
  3. Play major role in determining company success (or lack of) and what the organization becomes, based on the talent acquisition decisions/results. An “A” player in a leadership role will be compelled to build an “A” team, and to that avail, commit the resources and process necessary to accomplish that objective.
  4. Determine the values and purposes of the people hired, consciously. Strong leadership will not hire unconsciously. “A” level talent comes packaged in a variety of looks. It is the obligation of leadership to hire consciously. It will be necessary to look past first impressions: Are they like me? Do they interview well? Is their image above average?   They must get to the real “pattern of performance” data and decide based on the data. Can the candidate excel (in the role) based on past performance, depth of experience, and track record of success? Are they motivated to pay the price for success? These are the questions that consciously tuned in leaders will focus on answering.
  5. Provide oversight for setting the performance standards. Management with a stick doesn’t create valued performance. Goals depicting desired performance and rewards for achieving accomplished performance go a long way in motivating top-performers. Those not performing to standards must be penalized for their best interest. Leaders developing and governing (non-political) performance management as part of the Talent Acquisition vision will drastically increase the odds of organizational success.

All 5 of these actions enhance organizational performance. At Honer and Associates, we assist our clients in creating and executing powerful talent acquisition strategies. If you need to add additional “A” players to your organization in key areas, please contact us today.