Most business owners have never been taught how
to properly interview people for a position. Fortunately, the most
effective interviewing process is quite simple, as long as you can
discipline yourself to learn it and then follow it.
Suitability of the Candidate
A variety of excellent assessment
instruments and personality tests are available that you can use to
get a better feeling for the suitability of the candidate. In
my business, we use various instruments with each person, score
them, and give copies of the results to the candidate. We then
discuss the findings with the candidate in a spirit of open
inquiry, mutually seeking the best way to interpret them as they
relate to the job under consideration.
Don't Start Selling Until You Have Decided to
In other words, resist the temptation to
begin the interview by telling the candidate what a great job is
being offered and what a great company you have before
you have concluded that this is the kind of person you want to hire
in the first place.
The Key to Good Interviewing
The key to good interviewing is for you to ask
good questions and then listen carefully and patiently to the
answers. Pause before replying. Allow silences in the
conversation. Question for clarification. Ask "What do you mean?"
regularly. Never assume that you know or understand what is said
until you have checked to be sure.
The Person Who Asks the Questions has
Be sure that you are the person asking the
questions and not the other way around. The more a person
talks, the better feeling you will get about whether or not he or
she is a good candidate for the job. And you learn only when you
are listening. You don't learn anything when you are talking
about yourself, the company, or the job.
The "Swan Formula"
There is a simple formula you can use in an
interview. It is called the "Swan Formula" and comes from executive
recruiter John Swan. It is based on the letters S-W-A-N. These
stand for the four ingredients you are looking for: Smart, Work
Hard, Ambitious, and Nice.
Other Qualities to Look For
First of all, look for achievement or result
orientation. When you ask questions, listen for examples from
the person's background where he or she has really enjoyed
succeeding and getting results at a previous job. The only real
predictor of future performance is past performance. Probe this
area carefully and demand specifics, not generalities: "What
exactly did you do and what results did you get?"
Listen for Intelligent Questions
One of the hallmarks of curiosity is that a
good candidate will have serious questions, usually written
out, that he or she wants to ask about you, the company, the job,
opportunities for the future, and so on.
The Right Candidate
The right candidate will want to start as
soon as possible. The wrong candidate will have all kinds of
reasons for delaying a decision or delaying leaving a current
employer. The worst candidates of all are usually those who want to
take a vacation before they start working for you.
Plan your next interview in advance.
Make a list of questions that you are going to ask. Build
them around the skills and qualities that are most important to
the successful completion of the job's key tasks. Don't get
caught wondering what you're going to say next.
excerpted from Brian Tracy's "Success Mastery"
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