On both sides of the table, a prospective hire interview can be one of the most challenging aspects of business. The hurdles for the interviewee seeking the job are obvious, but what about for the employer? A pivotal moment where you identify that special employee who will take your business to the next level. You strive to bring talent that pushes everyone to do better, someone who will contribute to goals and problem-solving in meaningful and innovative ways. Hiring executives at Amazon know this principle well, so much so that they have implemented a “50% rule:” their goal for every new hire is to find someone who is stronger than 50% of their would-be peers in the company (Day One, 2019). In this article, we look to Amazon and a few other experts to give you some tips on conducting effective interviews with perspective employees.
Bring in Multiple Perspectives
In a busy organization, it is often the same employees who are tasked with conducting interviews. But Amazon understands the shortcoming of this practice: most people tend to hire others who think like they do, which can replicate existing problems in the company and stifle creativity. To combat this, invite different employees to participate in the interview process. They will see things in candidates that you do not, and a diverse hiring team will ensure that a well-rounded candidate are invited to join the company. Additionally, learning to interview is a great professional development opportunity for your employees, one that will prompt them to reflect on their work and even recommit to the mission and goals of the team.
Prepare Questions, but Be Prepared to Toss Them
It can be meaningful to develop a list of interview questions with your hiring team, brainstorming ideas and agreeing on what you hope to learn from the candidate. But don’t be afraid to ditch the list and pursue topics of conversation when they come up organically. Journalist and television host Katie Couric had this to say about overly-scripted interviews: “Nothing is worse than…watching someone go down a laundry list of questions and not explore something with a little more depth after someone has answered a question.” Couric advises interviewers to listen for intriguing or unexpected answers, and when appropriate, “use that as a springboard to go into a whole different area.” Beyond just making good TV, this technique will help you as an interviewer explore the unique strengths, weaknesses, and experiences of your potential hire. Getting to know the candidate in greater depth will help you make a more informed decision about whether to offer the job.
Listen to What Isn’t Said
Emily Brudner, Executive for the successful travel management site Lola.com, believes that what an interviewee doesn’t say omits from their answer can be more telling than what they do say. For example: an individual who talks about themselves but says absolutely nothing about the company may not be the best team player. This may also signal a lack research on your organization. Similarly, most interviewees will ask about benefits and compensation—which is to be expected—but the most conscientious and group-oriented candidates will also ask about company culture and what it’s like to be a member of the team. Listening for what isn’t said, even when an interviewee is professional and articulate, can give more insights into their priorities and abilities.
From all of us at NiteHawk, happy hiring and we wish you a safe and successful new year.
Brudner, Emily. (25 Nov, 2019). Interview that could indicate a bad hire. Inc.com. Retrieved from https://www.inc.com/emma-brudner/6-things-left-unsaid-in-an-interview-that-could-indicate-a-bad-hire.html?cid=search
Couric, Katie. (26 Jun, 2009). Katie Couric on how to conduct a good interview. Youtube.com. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=188&v=4eOynrI2eTM&feature=emb_logo.
Day One: The Amazon Blog. (30 Oct, 2019). Hire power: How Amazonians ‘raise the bar’ with every interview. Retrieved from https://blog.aboutamazon.com/working-at-amazon/hire-power-how-amazonians-raise-the-bar-with-every-interview