You Worry About Them And They Will Worry About You

Memories of my first interview are still fresh and they continue to inspire me.

I do not remember any other interviewer as clearly as I do remember this one because he was special! He was a magnet. He was an inspiration. He could have persuaded me to jump from the window – so to say. I figured out later that he was the key to attracting great talent to the organisation and I took my first lessons from the man!

While my later experience in various roles largely reinforced what I learnt in those days, I also made some modifications, specifically of late, as I learnt new realities while recruiting and working with the millennials.

Here’s the common structure of my interviews –  It has been working very well; See if it resonates with you and to your situations.

QUE 1. Is working with us an upgrade for the applicant?

First things first. If there is no way we can offer an upgrade to a potential employee, the person is either not going to join us or is going to look at us as a stop gap arrangement. If we expect them to look after our company’s problems, we need to worry about their problems first!

So, checking out the salary budget and a possible career path for the person even before deciding to screen the person, is the first step! Make sure there is something for the new person.

QUE 2. Does s/he have the problem solving ability (GMA as is called or broadly the IQ) ?

While you may argue on its utility for certain types of jobs but I think this is very important. This broadly tells us about the person’s ability to solve problems.

Most jobs are actually, problem solving assignments.

Things evolve, technologies change and employees have to constantly acquire new skills and solve new problems. And in such scenarios, it is their GMA that will determine if and how fast they will be able to do so.

QUE 3. Can we have a conversation?

Most people confuse this with communication skills and in the parts of the world where English is not the local language, English test becomes communication skills.

I have learnt through my exposure to people from all over the world that the only skill we need is the ability to understand and express – the conversation skills.

People all over are very kind and do make an attempt to understand your language despite grammar issues but feel helpless if you can’t express yourself.

QUE 4. Does s/he show the right behavioural attributes to apply his functional skills?

This is extremely important. The behavioural skills demonstrating following 5 capabilities determine whether the person WILL be able to effectively apply his rockstar job skills or not.

Following is what Google uses to test whether the person has the right approach to be the next googler.

  • Curiosity : How curious they are
  • Learnability : How quickly they could pick up new things
  • Emergent Leadership Quality : Ability to step in and help any team solve a problem BUT then step back out and let the teams continue, after the problem has been solved.
  • Ability to deal with Ambiguity
  • Intellectual Humility : Ability to accept and say “I was wrong” when presented with data and evidence.

QUE 5. Does s/he have the functional skills to do her job?

And the last one is whether he can do what we want her to do now. The hands on functional skills required as mentioned in the published JD.

I have been very lucky in attracting and retaining great teams throughout my career and I hope this helps you too.

Happy Recruiting!

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