Skyrocket Your Career! Subscribe to John’s “Got A Minute” video newsletter: SUBSCRIBE

There have been dozens of articles and blogs written on the subject of interviewing skills but few focus on the needs of the employer.

Many organizations have good recruiting processes in place.  The problem occurs when the candidate arrives for a face-to-face interviews. 

Clients frequently ask me for “sample” questions that will help their team — primarily department directors and managers — to identify and hire the right candidate.  Many think interviewing is an innate skill.  It is not.  

There are two essential elements to effective interviewing:

  1. Best-in-class recruiting system
  2. Preparation

A best-in-class recruiting system is the cornerstone of any human capital management program. The importance of developing and consistently using such a system is a non-starter in any debate over why so many external candidates fail in their new jobs.  Organizations without an integrated recruiting system that is built on the principles in Onboarding cannot possibly be as effective as an organization whose talent acquisition is based on this standard.  This will directly affect the quality of candidates you are able to attract.

Preparation is equally important.  Productive interviews do not just happen.  They are the result of adequate preparation and coordination. Circulating the candidate’s “interview package” to the team a day or two prior to the site interview is not that helpful if no one bothers to spend the time to get to know the background of the candidate and to think about the questions they would like to ask.  Some organizations — albeit very few — actually require that their interview teams meet the day before the candidate or candidates interview to assign areas of focus for each interviewer or interview.  Why?  To avoid duplication.  

Candidates report that more than 60 percent of the questions they are asked in a day-long interview session are the same or similar.  Virtually any candidate who can fog a mirror can nail the answer to a question the second or third time it has been asked in the same day.  More importantly, with that much overlap, you can bet there will be important details that are overlooked or skimmed over.  It takes time to get a candidate to explain in detail how they achieved on a project.  Wasting that valuable time on duplicate questions because there is little or no coordination is not productive.

Effective interviewing is not a subject that you frequently find in the  curriculum of the vast majority healthy systems and hospitals.  Maybe the lack of interviewing skills, particularly at the department director and management supervisory level is why it takes many organizations only one day to hire someone and another 365 days trying to get them out of the organization. Hiring the wrong person is a costly mistake.

Solving this problem will be “found money.”  

©John G. Self, 2010