Being a Good Interviewer

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Being a Good Interviewer | Tulsa Staffing Company

Cory:Hi there. My name is Cory Minter, and I’m the president of Trinity Employment Specialists, a Tulsa Staffing Company, and I want to talk just a little bit today about interviewing. I want to almost ask this question to our listeners: Are you a good interviewer?

If you are someone who generally interviews for specific positions, I would venture to say, you know, being in the staffing field here in Tulsa for years and years, working in the medical fields, accounting, and in the banking industries, we hire for customer service type positions, and I would venture to say that most of the interviewers that we have, that we work with, are not really great at interviewing. They interview a lot, but there are some key ingredients that I believe that they miss, and you can see it a lot of times in just the mismatches that, or the mis-hires that they have, but I want to go over a few things that I think will be very helpful to any interviewer. It is some of the things that we have learned over years and years of doing this. When you do it for years and years, you do a lot of things wrong, and then you do a lot of things right, but I’ll tell you that even over the past probably 3 or 4 years, our candidates have changed so much.

Using the traditional interviewing styles and platforms may not be your best avenue, and some of the questions that was asked, that we’ve asked for years and years, that’s probably not the best use of your time in an interview. I want to throw out some options that you might want to consider continuing with some of the traditional styles, but throwing in some of these suggestions. Keep this in mind, please, as we roll through this, that most of our interviewers focus on trying to find the right skillset, and that is so very important, but I’ve noticed that over the last probably 4 or 5 years, that we have changed, the best companies have changed from trying to only find the skillset that somebody’s learned in college or something, or you know, some kind of educational platform, and they’ve moved to hiring the person. Hiring the right person can change all of the difference in the world for many companies. You get the right person in there and train the skill that you need, and it can really be a game changer. What we’re moving from is we used to hire specifically for skillset, but most of our terminations are no longer a skillset problem.

They’re a personality problem. Can they play well in the sandbox with all of our other employees, and do they fit within our culture? That is dictating success for a lot of individuals, so I want to go over a few things that I think may be able to change your mind just a little bit, and then offer some suggestions that can help you drastically in not hiring people that you later on need to terminate. Have you ever hired anyone that you met in the interview, and you thought, “This person is really, really great,” and you really liked them. You fell in love with them, your entire team fell in love with them, and you thought they were great and you could not wait to get them started, only to find out that, about 2 or 3 weeks in from starting, you’ve got this entire, different person that you just don’t even hardly recognize. You would’ve bet $100 before that they would have worked harder or done this different, or whatever it is. I think that we’ve all done that. We’ve met somebody that really did a great job of presenting in the interview and they just did not turn out to be what you thought that they might be.

I think that there are some things that we can do as interviewers to change some of those mis-hires, and it is asking really specific questions to try to dig into who that person is so that you have a better understanding of who they are, because let’s just face it. Everyone can put on a really great show for, you know, a 1 hour interview, and then if you brought them back for a couple others, they can just really put on a great show and just trick you altogether. Let’s take a look at some of the questions and why you might consider asking them, and see if this doesn’t help you change some of your interviewing patterns. The way that I would like for you to consider presenting these questions, though, is 1 of the most important things, and that is, you need to ask the question in a way to not raise any red flags.

You want to try to keep this person very calm and collected, and the reason is because those that are best at selling themselves can notice when you are really trying to pin point something that’s a concern of yours, and they can make some changes in their answers based on the way that you presented the question. You can present it as though it has, you’re concerned about something, or you can present it as though, “Oh, this is just not a big deal, it’s a normal question.” Your body language is going to dictate a lot of what they say. What I’m trying to get by saying that to you is that you do not, some people will not be as truthful with you if they think that some concerns are going on. They won’t lay it all out on the table. The more comfortable that you can make them, the more of a realistic interview you’re going to get, so don’t raise any red flags.

Being very relaxed and laid back, you’re going to learn more, I promise you. This first question that I would like for you to consider asking is just, is ask them, “What are some of their greatest successes that they have seen in their careers?” I know that that’s a very common interview question, but what you are looking for there is you want to try to see if, are they including other people as a part of that success, or are they only looking at it from an individual standpoint? If they only focus on themselves, and they don’t include some other people that were involved in that, you may be looking at someone who really is more self focused of an individual rather than being a team focused individual. Of course, you can follow this question up with other questions relating to a team, but by just asking how specifically, how you worked well in a team with someone, well it’s immediately going to be telling an individual, “Hey, they want to see if I work well in a team, so I need to make sure and tell them that I do.” If you can ask questions that have nothing related to teamwork in the question itself, but you can kind of read in between the lines at how they present your answers. The best employees that you can find always can work really well within a team.

They also value the ability to work within a team. They have the ability to look at a teamwork environment and realize that they can do more in a team than they can individually. The best companies hire A players who can work really well in a team, so consider some questions that you might be able to ask that does not have the word “teamwork” in the question, but will allow you the opportunity to analyze what it is that they are looking for. The next question that is also tied to their successes is ask them about one of the biggest failures that they have seen in their career. I know that this is another very common interviewing question, but I want to challenge what you look for here. When you ask somebody about their failures, I want you to take a look at whether they are blaming someone else, or if they are taking the blame. If you study A players in the top talent, they have an ability to own their mistakes. They’re confident in them.

They don’t try to cover them up. They lay it out there, let people know they made a mistake, and here are some of the adjustments that they made. People who are very difficult to manage blame other people and see themselves as a victim. I know that, if you’re a manager, I know that 80% of the worst part of your job is dealing with, you know, that 1 or 2 employees that have these characteristics or these traits that are undesirable. Your team is frustrated with them, and you are frustrated with them. What I want to do in this little segment is to try to help you to avoid these type of people, so when you ask about failures, look and see who they’re blaming. Do they take responsibility for it, or are they going to shift the blame and see themselves as a victim? It’s a really big key for you to pay attention to. The next thing that I would recommend in interviewing for an A player and making sure that you get the right candidate is to just not get in a hurry.

The best veteran interviewers have the ability to ask a question and sit back and listen and think of good, solid follow up questions and not allow the social pressure of time or silence get in the way of their process in doing that. Many people who are not used to interviewing will have that moment of silence where they’re trying to think and it makes them uncomfortable, and so they just move on rather than really trying to dig in to what they were needing to find out. I really want to recommend that you take your time to ask follow up questions. Take your time to ask the right questions, and don’t get in a hurry, but give them the opportunities to answer. Use silence to your advantage, because if you use silence, it will put the pressure back on the candidate and they will reveal more information to you. Don’t get caught up in needing to hurry it along and, “Oh my gosh, there’s silence here, I need to fill the silence.” Let it work as your friend in the interview, because if you’ll sit back and be patient, your interviewee will start talking and reveal a lot more information to you. Don’t get in a hurry.

The last thing that I would consider when you are hiring an A player is to not wait too long. I know for small businesses, that might be difficult to do because of just all of the decisions that you have to make, and you don’t have as many people on the team, and you might have a big contract coming out right then and there. I get it, small business. I’m a small business myself, but the top talent, especially in our area, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and in Oklahoma City, the top talent is going to go quickly, and you’re not the only person interviewing that person. If you find someone that you really like, pull the trigger and do it in a time efficient way, or if you’re not ready right then and there, give them a clear cut process and a timeline of when you want to do the hiring so they know when you’re going to be making the decision. If you’re interested in them, and you need to buy yourself some time, let them know how interested you are and give them the timeline, because the lack of information, if they don’t know when you’re going to make a decision, they may just go to the next opportunity and you’ll miss them. I really want to encourage, especially our small business, to make the decision in a timely manner and not take too long. You’ll get the top talent. Anymore, in our industry, people are just not willing to wait and they’ll jump to the next thing very quickly. I hope that this helps you in your hiring process, and I know that if you follow some of these questions and guidelines, it’s really going to help you to maybe avoid a mis-hire hopefully. Good luck to you, thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you so much. Thank you so much.

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