Everyone who is honest with themselves finds interviewing, job-seeker or employer, challenging; infuriatingly, bewilderingly, and expensively challenging.
There are so many unknowns. Personalities, performance expectations, relationship dynamics, cultural standards, and more.
The fact is, and I speak from extensive experience, everyone finds interviewing extremely challenging. The best companies I know with phenomenal leadership, top-tier work, and very engaged teams often get it wrong, despite very sincere efforts.
Good companies tell me all the time they can’t tell if they made a good hire for three to six months. But here’s the hard truth: turnover is expensive, hurts morale, creates instability, challenges client relationships, and now you have to do all that work over again. It’s not worth it. Don’t make the hire unless you have a high degree of certainty, for your sake and theirs!
We all want loyal long-term employees yet the most consistent mistake I see being made is we spend a minimum amount of time in a rigid one-sided conversation to assess them and then pull the trigger, hoping it works out. Sure, you validated they don’t drool in meetings, but now you have to find out their struggles when they are managing your company resources. Is this wise?
For those looking to find their next level of proficiency, I have two recommendations. None of which are fancy interviewing tactics. This is about the fundamentals.
Build mutual respect
Hospitality, trust, clarity, promptness, professionalism, communication, compassion, high-standards, humility, and competent curiosity, to name a few ways.
It’s not unusual for a hiring authority to invest less than the candidate into an interview or conversation because their position has given them a false sense of supremacy and authority, crushing whatever hope of sincerity and curiosity could have produced a better result and relationship.
Spend more time with the candidate
Time has a way of revealing things. This doesn’t mean extend the hiring period, it means you allocate more time to getting to know candidates, professionally and personally. If you cannot commit your resources to make that candidate successful, you should not hire them. If they leave, unsuccessful, that’s on them, sure, and it is also on you. You hired them. So get to know them well. The beautiful fact is, people like it when you get to know them as more than a resume or candidate, great relationships have grown from deep interviewing and candidates deeply respect a company who takes hiring seriously.
Hiring someone WILL change your company in perceptible and imperceptible ways. It is the MOST crucial skill for a manager to develop. This is how the recipe for success is made, the magic of cultural chemistry, the
For those managers who struggle with interviewing (that’s me, too); consider it your job to hire people who are successful and don’t go easy on yourself when they are not. That’s our failure as much as theirs.
If this advice does not resonate with you, keep on the learning path. Experience has a way of making us value the fundamentals more and more. There are no shortcuts. All good advice is simple and hard.
Two other easy ways to cripple the hiring process is to outsource to technology (job boards and AI) or assign this holy task to an underpaid and overworked HR generalist a few years out of college, but that’s a couple more articles for another time.