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Talent Selection – Part 5: The Interviewing Paradigm

Not all interviewing methodologies are broken. If you subscribe to the theory that “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!” then you won’t have to worry about change until repeated problems force you to look deeper. The lack of apparent problems by current measuring standards could mean nothing is wrong. Conversely, it could be a sign that we are using the wrong benchmark to measure it. The biggest problem with today’s patchwork methods of interviewing is pretending that we created something new when we have only covered up one problem until something else pops up. Because we are hoping that nothing bad happens, often we don’t go looking for trouble and wait for trouble to find us. We should at least have the confidence that we have constructed a model that is sound or understand that we need to continually check for errors… or both.

I have mentioned several times that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all interviewing model, so the ideal system has to build in all the elements of local or environmental adaptability, situational flexibility, and consistency. Consider starting from scratch rather than modifying an off-the-shelf or legacy method. The first thing to do in creating the new interviewing paradigm is throw away linear thinking. Interviewing is multi-dimensional and requires building successive tiers that become dependent upon each other for structure.

Orchestration: Human resources [with buy-in from executive management] codifies the overall process and executes the interviewing process through trained recruiting management.

Phase I – Preparation: There are multiple dimensions of preparedness to construct the perfect interviewing model and each has a degree of interface relative to the others.

  1. Hiring managers are the final decision makers on a hire. Consistency doesn’t mean sacrificing individual needs but communicating those needs into everyone else’s consciousness.
  2. Interviewers must be on the same page as the hiring managers. The situation is dynamic because of the variety of jobs, so each successive interview means updating their mindset.
  3. Candidates need to be trained as well. Revolutionary? Not at all. To evaluate fairly on a level playing field the interviewee needs to know what to expect and leave nothing to guesswork.

Phase II – Data Acquisition: Through a variety of means, data is accumulated on selected candidates within a specified time period. Prescreening assures that one onsite visit will normally result in a hire.

  1. Hiring managers review the final slate of candidates based on sourcing suggestions and standardized technical phone interviews to insure a competent and diverse candidate slate.
  2. Interviewers are assigned specific questions or experiential data points to probe in depth with all candidates. Immediate follow-up and feedback with candidates insures competency.
  3. Candidates are not given questions in advance, but there are no surprises or trick questions. They present to the best of their ability an accurate representation of past performance and future expectations.

Phase III – Validation and Selection: Immediately following an interview there is a round table discussion involving all in-house participants or conference calls to those outside.

  1. Hiring managers are responsible for recording the discussion and tallying the results of the interviewer’s analysis.
  2. Interviewers discuss the questions asked, data points proved, follow-up probing, and a pass-fail analysis on each point. An overall hire or no-hire recommendation is offered to the round table.
  3. Candidates also provide input to the final analysis by being invited to ask probing questions and comment on the candidate experience.

Quality Assurance: The recruiting staff monitors all activity and evaluates the overall efficiency of the process as executed and verifies the selection of a candidate to hire. Candidates not selected for the current opening and meet all requirements are recorded and considered for other opportunities or future possible hire.

In addition to the 3×3 matrix skeletal foundation for this system, subtle changes over traditional methods are designed to improve the candidate experience and the culture. Openness means that an interview is similar to an open book exam by the candidate. The purpose is not to trick candidates, but to allow them how to demonstrate how they would perform. Unless somehow there is a BFOQ in a job to measure interviewing ability, that is mostly irrelevant. Polish is preferable to tarnish, but the goal is to pick the best employee for the culture.

Image credit: pressmaster / 123RF Stock Photo



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