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How to Interview and Hire Top People Each and Every Time

November 20th, 2018

A Guide to Hiring the Best Talent

The most important aspect of any business is recruiting, selecting, and retaining top people. Research shows that those organizations that spend more time recruiting high-caliber people earn 22% higher return to shareholders than their industry peers. However, most employers do a miserable job selecting people, having little knowledge of how to interview and hire top people each and every time. Many companies rely on outdated and ineffective interviewing and hiring techniques. This critical responsibility sometimes gets the least emphasis.

Below are several reasons why traditional hiring and interviewing techniques are inadequate:

  • The majority of applicants “exaggerate” to get a job
  • Most hiring decisions are made by intuition during the first few minutes of the interview
  • Two out of three hires prove to be a bad fit within the first year on the job
  • Most interviewers are not properly trained, nor do they like to interview applicants
  • Excellent employees are misplaced and grow frustrated in jobs where they are unable to utilize their strengths

A Five-Step Interviewing Process

Cisco CEO John Chambers said, “A world-class engineer with five peers can outproduce 200 regular engineers.” Instead of waiting for people to apply for jobs, top organizations spend more time looking for high-caliber people. An effective selection and interviewing process follow these five steps:

Step 1 | Prepare – Prior to the interview make sure you understand the key elements of the job. Develop a simple outline that covers the job duties. Possibly work with the incumbent or people familiar with the various responsibilities to understand what the job is about. Screen the resumes and applications to gain information for the interview. Standardize and prepare the questions you will ask each applicant.

Step 2 | Purpose – Skilled and talented people have more choices and job opportunities from which to choose. The interviewer forms the applicant’s first impression of the company. Not only are you trying to determine the best applicant, but you also have to convince the applicant this is the best place for them to work.

Step 3 | Performance – Identify the knowledge, attributes, and skills the applicant needs for success. If the job requires special education or licensing, be sure to include it on your list. Identify the top seven attributes or competencies the job requires and structure the interview accordingly. Some of these attributes might include:

  • What authority the person has to discipline, hire, and/or fire others and establish performance objectives
  • What financial responsibility, authority, and control the person has
  • What decision-making authority the person has
  • How this person is held accountable for performance objectives for their team, business unit, or organization
  • The consequences they are responsible for when mistakes are made.

Step 4 | People Skills – The most difficult to determine, as well as the most important part of the process, is identifying the people skills a person brings to the job. Each applicant wears a “mask.” A good interviewing and selecting process discovers who is behind that mask and determines if a match exists between the individual and the job. By understanding the applicant’s personality style, values, and motivations, you are guaranteed to improve your hiring and selecting process.

Pre-employment profiles are an important aspect of the hiring process for a growing number of employers. By using behavioral assessments and personality profiles, organizations can quickly learn how the person will interact with their co-workers, customers, and direct reports. They provide an accurate analysis of an applicant’s behaviors and attitudes, otherwise left to subjective judgment.

Step 5 | Process – The best interviews follow a structured process. This doesn’t mean the entire process is inflexible without spontaneity. Rather, each applicant is asked the same questions and is scored with a consistent rating process. A structured approach helps to avoid bias and gives all applicants a fair chance. The best way to accomplish this is by using behavioral-based questions and situational questions.

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