Consistently executable interviews

Hiring is important for a business, it’s a high leverage activity that makes other activities easier or faster. More of the right people (read: qualified and capable) can do more. More of the wrong people (read: underskilled) can tank the whole team.

Selecting who joins your company or team is important. A great emphasis is put on the interviews, by both the company and the candidate. Less emphasis is put on training the interviewers.

Too often ’training’ consists of shadowing another interviewer. This can be a useful exercise, but as they shadow you’ll never see why an interviewer does a specific thing. You’re never exposed to the reasons; for candidate experience, to stop leading questions, to dig for specific examples, etc.

What seems to go hand-in-hand with this kind of lazy interview process is the ‘CV chat’ interview. Where the interviewer will talk through that candidates CV, digging into specific pieces of experience.

Any good interviewer will spend some time to prep this, and will know what they want to ask. Any bad interviewer will YOLO this interview and ask whatever comes to mind. Either way, after the hour interview, both interviewers come out with a view of the candidate.

That view is rarely fair or consistent across candidates. Even with a scorecard to rate the candidate against, the proposition of starting from the candidates CV means the interviewer is always anchored or biased by this candidate. The content spoken about is dictated by what’s on the CV.

This type of interview is also much harder to execute well. It requires more prep, and more awareness of the flow of the conversation.

So, instead, we should try for a consistently executable interview. This is the kind of interview that’s structured so that it’s based on what you want to measure for, and not what’s on the CV. The consistently executable interview is also much easier for the interviewer to deliver, as it’s structured and almost exactly the same for each candidate. This makes it fairer; the interviewer always covers the same material (or questions).

To build one of these interviews, start with the behaviours, characteristics, attributes, skills, abilities, and experiences that you want the candidate to have. Then build a static lost of questions and follow up questions that will reveal these. Then ask every candidate the same set of questions. Consistently.

Now, your interview is fairer and is measuring for what you actually want to know. And the burden of preparing has been lowered. The interview is consistently executable. You can do more of the high leverage hiring activity, because each interview is a lower overall toll on the interviewers.

Make your interviews consistently executable.