Monday, March 02, 2009

What I'm Hearing...Free-Flowing Interviews

With Andrew "Down Under" for the next two weeks, I'll be taking the lead on blog posts. To kick things off, I'll comment on his excellent post from Saturday.

First, to clarify Andrew's comment regarding his Astron interview, as I remember it was about two hours long. And a fun two hours! Andrew made me laugh with his impressions of a favorite college professor and, more importantly, what he got out of that class. He showed me that he was cool under pressure, knew how to have fun, and wasn't overly self-conscious. Fantastic traits for success in a consulting environment!

Andrew makes several important points in his post regarding probing questions. Best HR practice dictates that interviewers, especially inexperienced interviewers, ask the same questions of each candidate to prevent inadvertent discrimination. While it's not a fun approach, it is a wise one.

However, asking the same questions without the necessary follow up probes reduces the overall effectiveness of the interview. If a standard question reveals a potential red flag, interviewers have the responsibility to delve further to determine suitability for the position and potential risk to the organization. Effective interviewing that balances both these needs is a skill that develops with time, practice, and mentoring.

How structured is the interview process at your organization? How can you make it more effective for both parties?

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