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The hungry account executive: Part two

National Mortgage Professional
Apr 10, 2008

Are you hiring the right people?Donna de St. Aubinemployment, human resources, interviewing Selecting talent is considered one of the most important decisions managers make in their careers. The cost of a bad selection has been calculated to cost at a minimum, twice annual salary, and as much as ten times salary depending on the level of the position. Not only is the cost associated with the poor selection an issue, but so too is the reputation of the organization and the hiring manager. The most important element of the selection decision in most cases is the interview. Interviewing is not a simple process. Here are suggestions for creating an effective interview and selection process. 1. Good planning and preparation Preparing for the interview may be one of the most important yet most forgotten elements of a successful interview. Preparation and planning pave the way for a focused, well managed, and successful interaction. Planning begins with having a clear set of criteria outlined for the ideal candidate in the position. Having criteria creates the roadmap for the interview. 2. Create the right environment. There are three key elements to creating the right environment. Consider the setting first, always make sure you are in a professional and private location that is free from interruptions. Interviewing in a public place is not recommended. Secondly, the approach you take can really make a difference. Make the candidate feel as if it is a friendly conversation so that they relax and demonstrate a more natural behavior. The third element is making sure you set the direction and the tone by the way you open the interview. Let the candidate know what you want to discuss and the time you plan to take to do this. Everyone relaxes more when they know the game plan. 3. Maintain professionalism. The best interviewers are professional at all times. They ask appropriate questions and follow legal guidelines to avoid any appearance of discrimination in the hiring process. Questions should relate only to the established criteria and should avoid such areas as: a. Age b. Religion c. Ethnic heritage d. Marital/family status e. Arrests (convictions are a different story) f. Disability or medical record 4.Navigate the discussion. The best interviewers control the direction and flow or every interview--guiding it so that they can gather the most critical information in order to make the best hiring decisions. 5. Recognize your own biases. We all have some sort of bias when it comes to evaluating applicants. These biases tend to subtly sway us to favor one candidate over another for reasons that are not related directly to the ability to do the job. Bias by interviewers is a key reason for interviewing failure. Making decisions based upon gut feelings or intuition does not always work. Using data points from observed behaviors provides a much stronger result. 6. Take good notes. The notes that experienced interviewers take consist of patterns of behavior observed in the candidate; not just what the candidate says. That is why these notes are often called pattern maps. As behaviors are observed, the interviewer keeps a record of the patterns. A pattern truly exists when five instances of a particular behavior are observed. These patterns will certainly show up in the on-the-job behavior. 7. Observe the candidate behavior. To observe patterns of behavior in a candidate you must listen for the words and the behaviors the candidate displays. Look for facial expressions, nervousness, interpersonal warmth, depth of knowledge, and other non-verbal behaviors. These give real insights about the candidate more than the words used. 8. Decide on fit. Best hiring organizations use core teams of interviewers to assess a candidate from multiple perspectives. Research indicates the validity of consensus ratings is significantly higher than other approaches. Picking the right talent can add significantly to the bottom line success of an organization or can cost the company greatly if a mistake is made. There are few responsibilities we have that impact the business more than who we hire. Donna de St. Aubin is a writer, speaker and consultant. She may be reached at or call (847) 564-2840.
Apr 10, 2008
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