The entrepreneurs I know possess a dazzling list of skills. They’re good at math, have incredible vision, boundless energy, and positivity.
But interviewing? Not so much. Most of them kind of suck at it.
Maybe it’s because as self-made business people, they’ve been through so few interviews themselves. Or, without proper HR training, perhaps they’re afraid they’ll break any of the plethoras of privacy laws that loom over the process.
Whatever the reason, it’s been my experience that most young entrepreneurs would have more luck picking an A-level candidate out of a police line up then they would from an interview.
But I’m here to tell you to skip the HR night classes and to hold off contracting that expensive recruiting firm. You find out just about anything you need to know about potential employees during a semi-formal group interview.
I’m a firm believer in the power of the group interview. First, it cuts back on the amount of time you have to spend in interviews. But more importantly, it gives you instant insight into the leadership skills and culture fit of the candidates.
Ask the group any question (I’ve even used “What’s your favorite movie?”) and look to see who steps up to answer first (usually a good indicator of leadership) or look to see who interrupts or monopolizes time (a massive, glowing, neon red flag).
And since I suggest, that if you want to hire A-Players, you need at least 200 resumes for each position you’re looking to fill, the group interview helps you weed out a lot of duds quickly. Remember, you aren’t necessarily trying to pinpoint the most suitable candidate in this portion of the process, just screening for cultural fit.
Of course, just hiring based on how well a candidate fits into your company’s culture is a surefire way to give yourself migraines. If you’ve been following this blog you’ll remember a previous post where I talk about the fact that in today’s speed-of-light-paced business world, the adage “hire for attitude, train for skills” no longer applies.
Once you cull your list in the group interview, you’ll need to get down to some serious, gritty, old-fashioned one-on-one interviewing to determine who can best fill your role.
Forget all the fluffy, HR-centric scenario questions. These almost always just result in the interviewee saying what they think needs to be said.
Instead, focus on specific questions that relate to your company and the candidate’s potential role within it.
And remember, there’s a certain amount of… embellishment that goes on in any interview. Be sure to ask for proven experience, and don’t be afraid to keep pressing if your gut tells you something is amiss.
Always remember, interviewing is a two-way street; you are screening potential employees as much as they are screening you as a prospective place to work. But keep it professional, organized, and on point, and you’ll undoubtedly find the perfect fit.
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