There's been quite a bit of buzz about a post Seth Godin did called, The End of the Job Interview.
And if you’re hiring for the second kind of job, the question becomes even more interesting. Would you marry someone based on a one hour interview in a singles bar? And how does repeating the forced awkwardness of an interview across your entire team help you choose which people are going to do
the extraordinary work you’re banking on?
I’ve been to thousands of job interviews (thankfully as an interviewer mostly) and I have come to the conclusion that the entire effort is a waste of time.
I agree that the job interview can and is almost always a waste. That said, the labor laws make it difficult for us to do a lot of the suggestions Seth puts out. And we do live in a lawsuit oriented society.
The Learning to Lead blog comments on Seth's post, too, in a post called, Interviewing: Eat it.
Yesterday I interviewed a beautiful young lady for the position of administrative assistant. Normally I wouldn't involve myself in interview on that level (its a matter of trust, people), but I'm trying to improve our company's ability to hire 'the right people' (aka "retention"). I don't ask the usual interview questions that others generally ask, partly because I'm experimenting with my interview style, and partly because I get bored after two minutes and like to spice things up ("If I started vomiting right now, what would you do?"). So I asked this girl, "If you could eat somewhere right now, where would it be?"
While it is interesting to see how people respond to questions like these, they could backfire on you if someone files a complaint.
I am not here to be the HR police, but let's face it, lawsuits suck. They take SOOOOO much time and money just to defend. That said, we should not run with our tails between our legs and stick to elocuting 15 boring questions out of some interview binder.
Some of Seth's suggestions are defensible as being job related, and that's the key. But then we have to be consistent - everyone must undergo the same "tests."
I think the key to finding the right talent is spending good quality time. As Seth points out, we don't generally marry someone after talking to him or her for an hour. I think job ads, job descriptions, and job interviews often fail to serve the quest to find the right talent (right = best fit overall). The process because something of a transaction versus the beginning of a relationship - one that might last a day or years.
Even when I have been interviewed - being interviewed by the supposed interview experts - I mostly feel gypped and unsatisfied.
If we start by increasing the amount of real conversation - two way dialogue - we have with candidates, that will improve things a great deal. Triple the time - talk to each person multiple times, deviate from the stoic questions and talk business. Go deep fast in talking business. Go beyond the resume line.
- What they did is interesting - why they did what they did is MORE interesting.
- Jobs they held is interesting - Why they went from one job to the next and how they made the decision it was time to move on is MORE interesting.
- Why they want this job is interesting - in what direction they want to take their career and how they plan on achieving this is MORE interesting.
- Their favorite boss is interesting - the type of environment that excites them such that they do their best work is MORE interesting.
- Their hot buttons are interesting - the ways they drive their colleagues insane and their level of self-awareness of this is MORE interesting.
- Successes are interesting - Failures and how they handle them are MORE interesting.
- Results are interesting - how they tune their teams to deliver is MORE interesting.
- Decisions are interesting - how they approach making decisions is MORE interesting.
- Ideas implemeneted is interesting - how they approach generating and evaluating ideas is MORE interesting.
- How they dress and carry themselves during the intereview is interesting - The questions they ask and their engagement in the conversation is MORE interesting.
You get my drift.
This is good stuff (recruiting after interviewing) to be talking about and the process certainly needs improvement. If you are a manager or leader, I just encourage you to go beyond the interview but stick with conversation that is clearly related to the job.
And spend good time. Don't be a Las Vegas eloper with buyer's remorse.