Preparing to Interview
Posted on 4th October 2022
Enabling your company to thrive is not just about filling your jobs as they appear; it’s about putting people on your balance sheet as your highest valued asset. Your aim should be to find the best most talented person for every job at your company.
If you accept this premise and move towards preparing for your interviews you will have taken a giant stride towards having successful interviews as opposed to well-intentioned but largely useless interviews, and maybe just maybe the person you are about to interview is your next Superstar!
So what and how should you prepare?
Your preparation should begin with a clear picture of the role you are trying to fill, the type of person and necessary skills you want in this role. This isn’t a five-minute job conducted as you run from one meeting to your interview but a thoughtful reflection on some or all of the following:
Specifically what are you looking for in a candidate?
Would you prefer someone with lots of experience or great potential?
Who is the best person who left recently?
What was it about that employee that you loved, that made them a star performer?
Who is the person in your organisation who comes closest to filling the job-and what are they missing?
When the going gets tough (as it always will) what type of candidate do you want to be in the trenches with?
Don’t compromise on the skills that aren’t easy to learn so make sure you know what they are. Personality and passion are very difficult to learn whereas competitor knowledge and even job knowhow can be learned.
Prepare specific questions and expect specific answers.
After this depth of reflection, it will be harder to fall into the trap of recruiting someone like the person who has just left, or blindly filling a role based upon an ill-conceived job specification, written by someone in the organisation who doesn’t truly understand the role.
Look at your organisation
Above you prepared for the type of person and skills you require. Next we encourage you to look at your organisation just as a candidate may view it. This degree of introspection may be regarded as unnecessary but if you stop for one minute to think how you are perceived in the marketplace, (not as you perceive your company but as how your potential employees view you), you’ll gain a valuable insight into how best to sell your opportunity to the next Superstar you interview.
If you find discrepancies between your view and the outside view of your company, it will be important to deal with these issues, as they may be a major obstacle in your candidate attraction plan. It’s important to do this in the preparation phase because without a consistently good image in the marketplace you will not attract the right talent for your organisation in the first place.
In addition to contemplating the outside view of your company, your preparation should be a thoughtful reflection on some or all of the following:
Why should the candidate want to come and work for you? (People tend to move jobs for (1) more money (2) more excitement (3) more responsibility.
Take a good long look at yourself against your competition. Think about simple things like salaries, benefits and working conditions and then think more deeply. What are they doing to attract top talent? (If you don’t have a competitor in mind, simply imagine one, what would a brilliant competitor be doing?)
If you competitor (imagined or real) were to recruit a Superstar that scares you, what would that person be able to do? This of course is exactly who you should be recruiting!
Contemplate what the competition and ex-employees maybe saying about you.
Be very clear what your company’s major selling points are.
This preparation, if done properly, will allow you to discover why your role is better than anything on offer by your competition – and if you discover that it isn’t you can set about doing something about it immediately.
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