Arte Nathan states, “You can’t teach employees to smile. They have to smile before you hire them.” This quote gets to the heart of the importance of hiring the right people for the right roles in your organization. It’s not just a good thing that has to have happened in order to be successful, it’s an imperative. For this reason, your company’s hiring process should be robust, dynamic and collaborative to ensure you are finding people who align with the vision. Beyond the resume or .cv, it’s the interview with a potential hire that can shed the most insight as to whether or not they will be fruitful in your organization. It’s vital that you are asking the important questions of potential employees and yourself that will ensure company growth. If you want better business, then you need to have better people.
The biggest skill of an interviewer is the ability to listen. It may feel like your questions are most important, but a great interview consists of more than simply getting through your list of prepared inquiries. A great interviewer has the ability to process information from the interviewee and pivot in real-time towards the next question in order to get them to go deeper. We suggest practice rephrasing an answer as, “So what I hear you saying is…” and then pivoting to where you’d like the conversation to go next. Follow where the answers are leading to get the most out of your interview.
Furthermore, an interview should have more than the necessary character and competency checks. These are the basics that let you know if the person possesses the expertise and moral qualities to do the job. But a greater indicator of fit and overall success in the role is believability. Do you believe in this person? Do they inspire confidence? Do they possess an energy that you can feed off and want to be around on a daily basis? Would you like to be on a journey with them on your team? Do you trust them with the things that you hold dear? These answers won’t come in basic competency or character checks. This is derived from the overall impression you get from meeting with an individual for a period of time. It may take more than one sitting, but it’s vital that you feel comfortable moving forward.
Keep in mind that the interview is a two-way process of engagement. Great interviews display a mutual interest from both parties. The interviewee should be interviewing you as well. If you get to the end of an interview and they don’t have any follow-up questions or requests, then this is likely a big red flag for a couple of reasons. First, it suggests that they didn’t prepare adequately for the interview. And secondly, it’s alarming that they have no follow-ups surrounding this big opportunity and/or life change. Also, you should pay attention to what type of questions they are asking. It can reveal areas that were missed or under-discussed during the earlier parts of the interview.
Great interviews feel like natural conversations. Another way to remove some formality of the ordeal is to have them come with you to grab some coffee or something in the breakroom before the official interview begins. This unofficial time enables you to see how they interact with others in an informal setting. It can help you gauge emotional intelligence and chemistry with the team. Finally, we firmly believe in the mantra that “if it’s not a heck yes, then it’s a heck no!” You want to hire out of enthusiasm because identifying who will be doing what is maybe the most serious question you can answer for your team.
By taking these steps, you will ensure that you are acquiring the right talent which is most important for growth. As in the words of Jim Collins, “People are not the most important asset. The right people are.”