Building Your ‘A’ Team – Part Six

Building your A Team

In this Building Your ‘A’ Team series, we have been covering customized system and processes for hiring and recruiting. This week, I’m covering the Long Interview.

The Long Interview

First, look back at the Flash Interview and see what that told you about the applicants. Notice how it’s generally all about qualities and attitudes.

Think about the qualities you want: enthusiasm, keenness, willingness to learn, common sense and so on. 

Also, think about it. Assuming that you screened out those who did not have the requisite skills during your pre-Presentation screening and filtering of applications, then those left over all have the requisite skills to some degree or other.  And skills can be taught or refined.  Qualities less so.  If you have someone who is enthusiastic with a willingness to learn, they will soak up every one you can throw at them.

A word of caution here:  You notice I said ‘willingness to learn’. This is a really important quality.  Beware the candidate who ‘knows it all’.  They are unlikely to ask if they don’t know the answer.  They are likely to continue ‘doing it their way’ and to be inflexible.  I’m not sure if that’s what you really want.  So willingness to learn – sometimes called ‘beginner’s mind’ – indicates someone with an open mind and not so ego driven that they are not open to a new way of doing things and learning new skills and methods.

So now you have them back for the longer interview. This is where you can check in on requisite skills, but also where you get to understand more about the person and their ability to fit in as part of your team.

The rules for this are the same as the Flash Interview – you ask questions and you LISTEN.  But first, be clear what you are listening for, so now is the time to go over your evaluation form and formulate your questions.

Try to keep all your questions Open questions as opposed to closed questions. Closed questions are those that only ask for a Yes or No answer and don’t lead to any in depth conversation or information.

Asking someone if they are a team player will have everyone automatically answering Yes. Who wouldn’t?  So you need to be more creative to get a fuller answer that will tell you more about the person.

So an example might be:

Describe a problem you’ve had in the past with a co-worker and how you handled it?  Would you do it differently today?  Their answer to that question will tell you a whole lot more about them than the first – which won’t tell you anything – except that they really want to please you or be who they think you want them to be.

Depending on what is important to you, you can ask questions that seek to find out about their:

Work record and commitment and adaptability:

–Thinking about the jobs you’ve had, in which do you think you performed your best and which do you think you performed worst and why
–Give me an example where you had to overcome a huge obstacle or challenge to reach your objectives, what you did and what happened?

Learning Ability and Goal Orientation

–What have been your greatest work and non work achievements?
–Can you give me an example of a job you’ve held in the past where you had to learn new skills? How did you go about it?

Ability to work with and influence others

–Can you tell me about a time you disagreed with a manager and how you managed that?
–Give me an example of a time when you took the time to share a co-worker’s achievement with others?

Job Motivation and Self-Management

–Give me an example of a job where you had to work independently, managing your own time and activities.
–Tell me about a special project you’ve been assigned in the past and how you planned and completed it.
–Do you take enough time to make a decision?

Do you see how these questions will draw out a different kind of response that will tell you heaps about the applicant?

In the final Part of this series next week, I will cover the evaluation sheet (and important piece), making the job offer and will touch briefly on reference checks.

Until then….

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