The B.S. Interview

  • Post published:09/06/2010
  • Reading time:3 mins read

It’s the irony of recruiting people. Whether you are a line manager, whether you work in HR or in a third party recruitment firm.

You hire people you should not have…. and don’t hire the people you should

The B.S. interview is when you…

  • talk to much and don’t let the candidate have center stage 80% of the time;
  • are fooled by the candidate’s presentation;
  • use the interview to confirm first impression;
  • when you don’t probe and ask a series of follow up questions;
  • think energy and enthusiasm is the same as motivation.

972_blurb_fuchsiaYou should take note of The Four A’s and I invite you to continue reading.

The A’s are about assessing presentation over performance and substance. When you have an articulate candidate in front of you, a person who is assertive, who is attractive and affable…. I know the feeling. You just can’t believe how lucky  you are.

You may have waited weeks or months for this kind of person to arrive at your office. The person’s resume is even cut out of the best cook books. The recommended two pages, a Value Proposition, tonnes of achievements, overseas educated. It’s almost too perfect. Have you been there?

Let me warn you. Next time this happens to you, meeting a Four A person, be on guard. Do not let your emotions take over. You must be even tougher and ask even more difficult questions. Use behaviour based interview technique to assess past performance. Remember, leopards don’t change their spots. I used to live in Africa and people told me that a leopard’s spotty pattern will never change shape as it grows bigger and older. We say that past performance is the best predictor of future performance. So the philosophy is that if a person has done it before, the person will and can do it again. 876_pile_books

Behaviour based interview questions are designed to have the candidate talk about specific situations or tasks that are related to the position. Here’s a few examples of such questions:

  • Can you give me an example of when you…
  • Could you tell me about a time when you…
  • Describe a situation where you…
  • Your resume indicates that you
  • Tell me exactly how you did that

If the person asks you to repeat the question, or repeat it himself before attempting to answer, or takes forever to find the answer, or start talking about “we” – it’s all an indication that the required competency may not be there after all. You also need to process what is being said, so that you are can ask probing questions like: how long ago did this happen, who were involved, what was the outcome.  1012_compass_sienna

Tom Sorensen

Tom Sorensen is an executive search veteran with over 25 years of experience recruiting in Asia, Europe, and Africa. He has worked in executive search in Thailand since 2003 and is recognized as one of the country’s top recruiters and most profiled headhunters.