Wendywoman on interviewing strategy…

Reporter Query:

I’m looking to speak with experts who have experience interviewing/hiring job candidates, including bosses/managers, HR professionals, career experts. Do you get nervous before conducting job interviews? How do you prepare for one? Are there particular questions you always ask, or never ask? What do you expect from candidates? What impresses you? What actions will guarantee that a person won’t get the job? How do you know when it’s the right person? Does getting along well with the person sway your decision? These tips will be for managers and bosses, but also to provide some perspective for job hunters.

The need for employees to adapt as a result of technological change, consolidation of business and globalization will be at the top of the priority list during the next decade because businesses cannot change until their people change.  It takes a special kind of person to excel in today’s environment.  Those that are timid, submissive and governed by rulebooks need not apply and more importantly should not be hired.  Look for employees who are energized by change versus disrupted by change.  Focus on 2 key areas:

Confidence to Change.
Are they approval seekers?  Enter the economic downturn and never has innovation been more important.   Changing ahead of the curve requires a specific mindset.  Ask questions that will solicit answers about whether or not the applicant will look to their boss and colleagues to get permission for everything they do.  Ask for examples of how they have challenged existing paradigms when no one else would in a way that was meaningful to their organization (and doesn’t leave a trail of wounded people).  The ability to do so is a skill set few have but all organizations currently require.   If the applicant cannot pass this tollgate, the result will be a crisis in confidence and they will not be able to execute below.

Capacity to Change.
Are they risk-averse? In an era where driving change will remain at the top of the priority list, you cannot hire the person who always wants to play it safe when it comes to decisions and behaviors.  Ask questions that will solicit answers reflective of whether or not the applicant considers transformation part of their daily life and not some special circumstances, such as a merger.    Do they prefer a predictable environment versus a chaotic environment?  Are they willing to makechange happen or do they wait for change to happen?  Do they like being knee deep in alligators?   Ask for examples of how they believe they are self-directed and can function autonomously.