The Better Interview Process

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A lottery. That’s what the average interview process resembles … for the interviewer and interviewee.

John Briggs & Gale Miller of the Solutions Behavioural Health Group Milwaukee did some research on the job interview process. Their finding was that we need to reframe the traditional interview ‘contest.’ They suggest ways that avoid the surprises that can arise later and instead help both parties get what they want. Here’s what they found…

Hiring creates a change and choosing a person creates a new situation. Different kinds of people will create a different situation / direction.

So, should we choose a person, or a future situation based on the future we (and they) want?

The traditional pre-employment interview is unreliable in terms of deselecting bad employees and selecting good employees.

Predictable questions with predictable answers:

‘What are your greatest strengths?’ (‘Dependable, hard worker’)

‘What are your greatest liabilities?’ (‘Don’t really have any – perhaps I am a perfectionist’)

Too much focus on the organization or the candidate:

Organization – ‘We have a square hole, are you a square peg?’

Candidate – ‘What kind of peg are you? Can we reshape our hole or your peg?’

Conducting the interview to confirm biases:

‘After reviewing your application, you appear to be the best candidate. Please tell me we are right.’

Focusing on the candidates needs;

‘We are really in love with you. What do you need from us to be happy?’

John and Gale note, ‘don’t eliminate these questions.’ Instead, be aware of the assumptions behind them. Be more mindful of the responses. As Gale put it, both sides should think ‘Let’s work together and have a conversation about constructing a peg and a hole that fit well together and provide great functionality.’

Then, there’s interviewee perspective. Despite being asked, ‘What questions do you have of us?’, the interviewee is often in a passive, cap-in-hand role.

So, what questions need to be asked? Download the PDF to see what both interviewer and interviewee should ask. Here are two great examples:

Interviewer – How will our organization benefit from hiring you?

Interviewee – Suppose you hired me, how will I have helped you achieve great things?

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3 thoughts on “The Better Interview Process

  1. Coopspeak

    How timely this article was for me. I took some of your suggestions as I was midstream in an interview process for my agency. I had three final candidates and on the final interviews I used some of your questions. Even my two staff members who were sitting in on the process….their jaws dropped when I asked some of the questions. It was fantastic. So wonderful not to ask the usual trite, predictable questions. The interviews because much more dynamic and insightful. Thank you so much for this!

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