the best team wins: build your business through predictive hiring
Most entrepreneurs and business managers don’t conduct interviews. Instead, they have conversations. When a job candidate comes for an in-person interview, managers and entrepreneurs talk about how great their business and their employees are. They talk about the growth prospects, their client list, and how they made the Inc. 500 list last year. The manager tells the candidate how much they would love working there. Meanwhile the candidate sits, smiling and nodding, listening to the hiring manager gush. Inevitably, the manager will stop, look at the candidate, and say, “So, enough about us. Why do you want to work here?”
The candidate then repeats back everything the manager just said, parroting the hiring manager s reasons for wanting the position. The manager and the candidate banter back and forth until time runs out. The candidate leaves, excited about the company, but not exactly sure what the job entails. The manager leaves, excited about the candidate, but without a clue about how the person would perform.
Later, the manager extends an offer, the candidate accepts it, and six months afterward the manager and the candidate are both frustrated because neither one understood or managed their expectations. Does this scenario sound familiar?
Most people are nice, and people want to connect with others. Entrepreneurs are accustomed to informality, and that casualness translates into their interview style. The result is an interview approach that goes a long way toward building rapport but falls short of eliciting information that predicts the candidate’s success.
To correct this problem, enter what I call the talent mindset. The talent mindset is the hiring manager’s version of being in the zone. It’s a mental preparation that readies you, the hiring manager, for having an engaging and productive interview with your candidate. How do you know you’re in the talent mindset?
01 you’re prepared
The first step in creating a talent mindset is preparation. If you have to fumble around for the right questions to ask, you’re not going to have a good interview. By contrast, if you only have to ask questions and listen, you’ve set up an ideal situation.
02 you’re comfortable
Most of us don’t like judging others.
Being in the talent mindset means guarding your company’s culture like the irreplaceable asset that it is. If you’re going to create a company full of superstars, you can’t let a single bad apple into the barrel.
Fight the urge to be everyone’s friend; it will destroy your ability to conduct a solid interview. It’s hard for many of us to objectively find fault in others, especially if they’re likeable. Get into the talent mindset so you are ready to judge the abilities and accomplishments of another person. Understand that your mission is to determine whether or not this person will succeed in your open role. We’re not choosing friends. Hiring mistakes cost a lot of money.
03 you’re protective
A company culture takes years to create, but one bad hire can throw it into total meltdown. Many of us have had the experience of knowing on a new employee’s first day that we’ve made a hiring mistake, because two or three of our employees are visibly disturbed when speaking to them (and perhaps have even told us so). Being in the talent mindset means guarding your company’s culture like the irreplaceable asset that it is. If you’re going to create a company full of superstars, you can’t let a single bad apple into the barrel. Protect your company’s culture as if it were the most important part of your job, because it is.
Before you conduct your next in-person interview, walk through the following questions to determine if you’re in the talent mindset: Am I prepared for this interview? Am I ready to judge another person? Am I approaching this interview as a guardian of my company’s culture?
If the answers are yes, you’ve set yourself up for the interviewing and hiring success.
the in-depth interview
After you’ve interviewed enough applicants through your telephone interviews to yield three to five viable candidates, you’ve completed the first round of your hiring process. Now, you carry forward the best candidates for the second round. At this point, you should be reasonably certain that these candidates would likely perform well in the open role. The goal of the second interview is to find out which of your candidates will have the highest likelihood of success. This stage is where we attempt to poke around inside the candidate’s head and find out what makes them tick. This is how you’ll identify the candidate to take forward to the next step.
I recommend scheduling one in-person interview per day on consecutive days. This schedule keeps you in the talent mindset and makes it easier for you to compare and contrast results. You should budget approximately two hours for each interview to give your team and the candidate ample time. Once the interview begins, set the stage, get the candidate a beverage of their choice, and create a positive, relaxed tone. By this stage of the interview process, you will have talked with your candidate in some detail during the phone screen, so it should be easy to establish rapport. If you are struggling to connect with your candidate during the second interview, I’d have some serious concerns about cultural fit.
Unlike the telephone screen, the second round should be conducted with an interview buddy. You, as the hiring manager, should ask the questions, while your interview buddy listens intently and takes notes. As you’ll soon discover, the interview questions employed in the second round are much deeper and thought provoking than simple jobrelated inquiries. I mention this point because in the in-person interview, your interview buddy will have a lot of content to absorb and they’ll need to prepare accordingly. ■
Excerpted from The Best Team Wins: Build Your Business Through Predictive Hiring (Greenleaf / 2017). Copyright (c) 2017 Adam Robinson. Reprinted with permission of the author. All rights reserved.
Adam Robinson Greenleaf 2017, USD20.95, 222 pgs, Hardcover