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BLOGTrust but Verify

by Randall CraigFiled in: Blog, Recruitment

Recently someone asked me to discuss how to choose interview questions, and specifically how to look for for people with a great work ethic. Here’s how I answered:

If you are of the mind that past performance is an indicator of future performance, then part of what you want to do is dig for examples of the performance that you are seeking. Just about any question that starts with “Describe a situation where…” will do the job.

This by itself will never be enough, though. A more critical part of the exercise is the verification that you do with their references. In addition to any standard fact-checking, make sure that you ask the references questions that allow you to verify the candidate’s answers. These questions will always start with “I understand that they were involved in ______; can you describe…”

Some other questions that can use this ask/verifty model:
– How have you dealt with slower-paced colleagues…
– Provide two examples where your speed of delivery made a difference, and what you learned from the process…

The other possibility is to move away from exclusively using the traditional “behavioral” interviews, and consider using experiential or case-interviews in addition. Experiential interviews involve giving the candidate a task, and observing how they do it. A typical task might be to pull together a presentation, and then deliver it. A verbal case interview is when a candidate is given a business situation, and has to solve it. Based on the pace of the candidate’s questions, it isn’t that tough to sort out those who naturally process quickly vs those who are slower.

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