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Preparing to interview: part one


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:

  1. Specifically what are you looking for in a candidate?
  2. Would you prefer someone with lots of experience or great potential?
  3. Who is the best person who left recently?
  4. What was it about that employee that you loved, that made them a star performer?
  5. Who is the person in your organisation who comes closest to filling the job-and what are they missing?
  6. When the going gets tough (as it always will) what type of candidate do you want to be in the trenches with?
  7. 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.
  8. 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. This preparation, if done properly, will allow you to discover the role you are trying to fill and you’ll recognise the person who can best do it when you see them.