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What You’re Really Looking for in an Interview


What You're Really Looking for in an Interview

Interviews are just one piece of the candidate prediction method. Alone, they aren’t effective. One study indicates they are the ninth lowest predictor of candidate success. That’s ninth out of nineteen possible candidate prediction methods. Combined with other prediction methods, interviews increase the chances of predicting candidate success significantly.

But what are they for?

Let’s assume you’ve already assessed the candidate’s skills, cognitive abilities and fit with screening and candidate assessments. What you’re looking for in the interview is “who” this person is. Not if they are going to show up on time or not, but how they react to showing up on time or being late. Did they call ahead if they were running late, did they give notice that it may be difficult running to the interview at lunch hour? Did they let you know upfront that they needed to leave at a specific time?

What you’re looking for is three Ds:

  1. Desire – What’s the person’s desire to do the job, do more than the job and grow the organization? What’s their desire to help team members vs. push team members down?
  2. Discipline – What type of practices do they put in place to grow themselves, improve their work and do better? How do they maintain discipline to do a good job?
  3. Distractions – How does the person avoid distractions; how do they deal with distractions and pivot to get the work done.

Are we asking the right questions? What’s difficult is removing questions that support “self-marketing” vs. doing the job, fitting in and growing with a company.  Behavioral interview questions will help you understand how a potential candidate has handled a situation in the past. Behavioral questions can tell you how they handled situations that deal with desire, discipline, and distractions.  Non-behavioural questions need to be thoughtfully and practically constructed. So many leaders/managers say “I just wing it”, but when you wing it, you’re not able to logically compare candidates.

Related: The Future Of Recruiting: Video Resumes

Here are three behavioral questions that use our formula (Arena, Rift, Trait):

  1. Desire – Can you give me an example of a time when you went above and beyond on a project, what did you do and what was the result?
  2. Discipline – Can you provide a scenario where you identified a personal skill gap, how did you identify the gap and what did you do about it?
  3. Distractions – We’re all faced with urgent vs. important tasks every day, can you provide a time where you were working on an important project and a separate urgent task/project came up. What did you do, how did you handle it?
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