They Looked So Good In The Interview
often, after hiring someone who does not work out,
have you thought to yourself, "But they looked
so good in the interview."? While interviews can
provide valuable input into the hiring process, they
often confuse as much as clarify.
of the problem is the inherent limitation of interviews.
Instead of lending insight, interviews can often become a form of theatre
in which all of the actors are tripping over one another, trying to put
their best feet forward. The employers are busy attempting to leave a
favorable impression of themselves and their company, while the applicants
are trying to mold themselves into whatever they perceive is desired. Meanwhile, it must be kept in mind that any book store worth its salt
has a shelf full of guides for playing this game to the hilt. And anyone
serious about applying for a job has read at least one of these guides.
job interviews are replete with people trying to leave
the best first impression. The result, all too often,
is what we call "Interview Stars," those
individuals whose best performance occurs during the
interview. These Stars are able to convey a favorable
first impression, but it wears thin very quickly. The
difficulty employers encounter is delving below the
surface to get a clear understanding of an individual's
Interview Stars are overly concerned with making a favorable impression.
It is fundamental to such an individual's sense of well-being to be liked,
appreciated, and perceived in favorable terms. An individual with this
motivation will work very hard to make a good impression in an interview,
and, with the help of a few guides, will probably succeed. Yet, while
this motivation to be well-liked is important for many jobs, it will
not assure success in a sales, consultative or management position.
in fact, too much of a need to be liked can work against
an individual's ability to make difficult decisions,
let alone to risk rejection when the situation calls
The difficulty, once again, is delving below the surface to get a true
read on an applicant's underlying motivations.
first step is to conduct a personality assessment,
which can provide insights into an individual's strengths,
limitations and motivations. Second, and equally important,
is to compile a list of the key attributes that are
going to be required for the individual to succeed
in the job, and to work effectively with their manager.
For instance, for a sales position, persuasiveness,
service-orientation, independence, reasoning ability,
empathy, and the ability to bounce back from rejection
are increasingly important as customers seek quality.
Then you need some questions that will help you determine the extent
to which each applicant possess these traits and can effectively make
use of them in the job at hand.
For instance, when trying to determine if an individual is confident
and assertive, ask them to tell you about an individual who can influence
them. Ask them to tell you about a time when they had to go against the
rules. Ask them what the best suggestion they ever made was. Then listen.
As their stories unfold, you will learn much more about them - rather
than simply reviewing their resume, as so often is what happens in interviews.
When trying to determine how empathic an individual is, ask, "In
what kinds of situations will you cling to your point of view - no matter
what?" Ask them about the worst situation they faced when managing
a project. Ask them to tell you about a time when someone persuaded them
to their point of view.
assessing an individual's problem solving and decision
making abilities, ask, "If you could change a
policy at your present company, what would it be?" Ask
them what are the easiest kinds of decisions to make?
What are the hardest? Then, again, listen.
And there are many other questions to pursue to help assess an individual's
level of independence, initiative, sales skills, caution, energy, leadership,
organizational ability, communication skills, ability to follow directions,
and service orientation.
These questions can be windows into an individual's personality. Coupled
with the findings from a valid personality test, they can provide you
with an accurate read on an individual's motivations - before you bring
them on board.
First and foremost, you need to know the qualities you are looking for
in a particular position. Then, through valid personality testing and
comprehensive interviewing, you will be able to delve below the surface
and get a clear understanding of an individual's strengths, limitations