Tuesday, March 30, 2010

I'm Hiring Part 2 - Identifying the Right Traits

Facebook & Email Newsletter ads sent.

Radio ad running.

Applications coming in.

Now for Part 2...

My goal is to find genuinely helpful people. The application/resume only gives me hints at this. The kinds of jobs they held before tell me a little. The organizations they've joined tell me a little more. But I need to find out in a short period of time (the interview) if they have the traits I want.

How do I do that?

As we speak I'm working on interview questions to help me identify these traits. I posted my needs in an online group where I belong and received this list of questions from a friend who also does a lot of hiring...
  1. What are you looking to do next, and why?
  2. What type of people (team) do you want to be with and why?
  3. What would you like to learn?
  4. What are you an expert on? What are you the best at?
  5. What is the worst decision you ever made?
  6. Describe your most remarkable project/achievement.
  7. Leadership- How did you move your last organization forward? What did you do to move those around you forward?
  8. Imagine you had your own business...what would you do to improve service, improve morale, improve the bottom line, etc.?
  9. Describe an interesting problem and how you solved it.
  10. Describe a problem you foresaw, and how you helped avoid it.

Good questions, but how do you get good answers? How can I make it comfortable enough for the interviewee that she gives me honest answers?

One suggestion I received was to walk around the store with the person, a less formal setting than the office and desk approach.

Another was to put all the applicants together at once and have them talk about their experience and traits together, that you'll see their true character show up in a group setting like this. You'll see the ultra-competitive, the back-stabbers, the talkers, the listeners, the shy, the loud.

Another was to put them right on the job as part of the interview. See how they do cold and you'll have an idea if they have the traits you want.

And one more intriguing idea is to ask each applicant to bring in one object that truly reflects who they are, and be prepared to explain why. Their dedication to this task will tell me a lot about their dedication to the job, not to mention a lot about who they are.

I'm leaning towards the first and last approaches, but would love to hear your thoughts...

How would you make it so that interviewees give honest and forthcoming answers that are not canned?

-Phil

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