Interviewing – Planning for Success

I started working at my Dad’s grocery store when I was seven years old. I have had a job or multiple jobs ever since that time. In all my decades of working as an employee, independent contractor or consultant I have only experienced, seen or found a couple of business that used consistent and effective interviewing. If you want to hire someone or if you want to be hired, the interviewing process is very important. Take adequate time and effort to put a plan and process together.

How do we select the right candidates?

To select the right candidates, think intrinsically and do a thorough job to determine if candidates are a good “fit” for your organization, team or family. The word intrinsic means, “to belong naturally.” Carefully consider what it means to “belong naturally.” People like to have a sense of belonging. If that sense of belonging can happen naturally and freely, that is what you are seeking. So how can that happen for your situation? From the start, see it as a sorting exercise and then a selection process. A temptation is to jump quickly to a decision that you have found the right candidate before you have completed the search process. Work consciously.

One approach to determine a natural fit, is to use a criteria of four areas found in the book “The Managerial Moment of Truth” by Bodaken and Fritz. The factors are skills, attitude, alignment and interest. Does the individual have the skills you need? Does their attitude complement the culture? Is there an alignment of values, principles and priorities? Do they have genuine interest in buying-in, owning and taking pride in what your business does and how you do business? All four areas must match!

The best and right candidate is a mutual decision.

How can we best prepare ourselves and the candidate for the interview?

Have absolute clarity about your specific needs, interests and desires. Have focused open-ended questions prepared that you ask all candidates. Have a plan and process that you use consistently. Share your process timeline with candidates. Include emails and phone interactions in the process.

From “The Big Book of HR,” use the STAR approach when asking about or sharing work experiences. S - Describe a specific Situation. T - Explain the specific Tasks involved. A - Explain the specific Actions you took. R - Describe the Results of your actions.

The interview process is an opportunity to show both your professional and personal genuine self. Being authentic and truthful is always the best practice.

As the interviewer, show the organization, the team and the culture. Involve other team members in the interviewing process. As the candidate, give evidence of what you have to contribute to the team. Be open and direct with your own questions as well as how and where you see exciting connections with the organization. You as company or candidate are making a significant decision. Interviewing is critical - Do the homework!

This article originally appeared in the Taos News on March 20, 2016.

Bernie Linnartz

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Managing people is the most challenging part of any leader's day. And that job certainly is not getting any easier. The Big Book of HR will provide any HR professional, manager, or business owner of any size organization the information they need to get the most from their talent. It is filled with information on everything from the most strategic HR-related issues to the smallest tactical detail of how to manage people.