Increase hiring interview success

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One of the biggest challenges most CEOs face is increasing the effectiveness of screening job applicants. With 50% of hires not succeeding, despite all the time and effort put into the process, we’re all looking for better answers.

One solution, mentioned in prior blogs is Topgrading. Bradford Smart in Topgrading: The Proven Hiring and Promoting method that Turbocharges Company Performance describes a vigorous process of interviewing that increases the odds of success substantially. (Geoff Smart’s  Topgrading for Sales provides an abridged version with sample forms).  The key is to use open-ended questions to get inside the head of the candidate and get the person to connect the “career” dots to see how they go together, and then speak to past employers for actual references.

When I meet with new candidates for my CEO group or executive coaching, I want to know the biggest challenges they face. One common questions used is “What keeps you up at night?” This identifies pain points which through coaching/mentoring we can overcome. Sometimes it also reveals passions, but there’s no guarantee.  Time Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App, offered an additional perspective that will help with identifying passion: “What’s your WOW project? What are you excited to be working on?” This method exposes passion and also the level at which the candidate works. Is he she focused on the big picture or the weeds? Where is the level of concern – people, results, processes, structure?

Finally, after strategically evaluating the person, assess the communication tactics you’ve witnessed to discover how the candidate may relate to other people. What does the person’s appearance and body language tell you? As Ali McConnon, a writer for the Wall Street Journal recently observed, the following items can provide useful information to assess leader presence: Posture, smiling, eye contact, use of gestures and communication clarity.

What are you experiences with hiring? What lessons have you learned? Share your insights with us!