Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Archive for September, 2014

Job interviewers are projecting an image of their organizations.

Something we may not often think about is the impression we’re offering to the marketplace about our organization when we interview a job candidate. During the times when I’ve worked with individuals who are experiencing the job search process, I can recall several people who walked away from an interview with a poor impression or a bad taste in their mouths about an interviewer, or worse, an organization.

On the other hand, even if someone is interviewed and doesn’t get the job, yet they found the interviewer to be well-prepared, professional, and conversational, they’re left with an appreciation for the interviewer and a strong image of the organization.

Being in business for myself, I’m regularly being “interviewed”. I can think of two company presidents who were so savvy at saying “no thank you” to me when I reached out regarding coaching opportunities (both already had established resources), that if someone I knew were exploring a service or position in either company, my tendency would be to say something positive about the organization based on how I was treated by their leader.

What’s your experience as an interviewer or interviewee? Any tips you can offer?

I had this article published last week. Thought I’d share it here, as it offers a few quick tools to those of us who are serving as interviewers.

——Originally published in Rochester Democrat & Chronicle, Women at Work Column, September 16, 2014
Interviewing Skills Crucial to Hiring Process

by Donna Rawady

When a family member, friend or colleague has a job interview coming up, we may find ourselves asking if he or she is well-prepared. Perhaps the more impactful question would be: Is the interviewer well-prepared?

A skilled interviewer who thoroughly prepares, is confident in the role, and most importantly, knows how to engage a person in a comfortable and meaningful exchange, is crucial to recruiting sustainable talent.

Here are just a few simple approaches that great interviewers use to prepare for and conduct a results-oriented interview:

Prepare by reviewing the candidate’s resume carefully. Ask yourself what you find attractive about the candidate’s experience that relates well to the position. Note any gaps that you may be concerned about. Create a few questions that give candidates the opportunity to expound on their experience to help you better understand their skill sets, and how they might perform on the job.

Approach the conversation as a friendly yet professional exchange that’s going to help you and the candidates determine if they’re a good fit for the position.

Use open-ended behavior-based questions that generate natural and informative conversation versus seeking the right answer. A few examples include:

• Tell me more about what you enjoyed about leading a team over the last three years.

• If you had to share just one thing that you found particularly challenging about your experience in this role, what would it be, and how did you overcome it?

• Tell me about a time when you found yourself coaching a poor performer. What strategies did you use to coach and develop that person? What were the results?

The most effective interviews are those that are remembered by both parties as a positive experience, whether the candidate was hired or not.

Facilitating one-on-one assessment interviews? Here’s a quick tip.

Are you preparing to facilitate individual interviews to gather feedback relating to a process, project, current state of affairs, or an area identified as needing attention in your organization?

There are several strategies you’ll need to think about as you prepare for your role as facilitator including: clarifying, stating, and sticking to the objective of the assessment; positioning the interviews; engaging and building trust with participants; avoiding promising specific outcomes; and well-facilitating the interviews, to name a few. —All of which are crucial to the success of the assessment.

Today however, I’m offering just one quick tip: Less is more. I’m referring to the questions you might ask assessment participants. Keeping it simple, and using open-ended questions that will minimize leading an individual in a particular direction produces rich feedback. Then just listen and take clear notes. As you debrief your notes, you’ll be looking for those common denominators, which is where the most valuable data will be found.

Here are three simple questions that, in my experience, have consistently contributed to generating a rich discussion and gathering clean and invaluable feedback.
– What do you see as the most significant strengths of the current state?
– What do you see as the most significant challenges with the current state?
– If you only had the power to change one thing that you believe would have a significant impact on success in this area, what would it be?

Generally, when asked these simple questions, people will gladly take the opportunity to talk openly about their own individual perceptions and experiences, and the conversation tends to flow from there. You may find that additional questions will arise based on an individual’s responses. But even then, it’s best to avoid leading or “yes or no” questions and ask open-ended questions, such as “Tell me more about….” or “What else can you share with me today that will help me better understand your last comment?”

Data from well-facilitated assessment interviews can be very powerful as it helps an organization better establish, prioritize, and plan specific strategies towards successful outcomes.