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
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:
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
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 www.staubin.net or call (847)