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Today’s Quote

“When I was looking for jobs and interviewing, they’d always want me to say, ‘I’m a great multitasker.  And I wouldn’t. My inability to multitask was seen as a negative. Now I can just say, ‘I am a monotasker. I am someone who works best when I focus on one thing at a time.’ ”     – Joe Pack, photographer | Read This Story Without Distraction (Can You?)

One of the standard questions in Adam Grant’s Corner Office column in the Sunday New York Times is, How do you hire?  It is a great question, one that we frequently use in our executive candidate interviews.

The question can be very informative.  It tells us a lot about the values of the candidate as well as their ability to attract and retain one of the most critical elements of any rp_Interview-panelshutterstock_447509341-300x200.jpgbusiness enterprise — human capital, people. If you look at businesses with higher rates of turnover, there are usually several factors involved.  The two most common are dysfunctional culture and poor hiring decisions.  Typically they are related.

But just as far too many organizations are oblivious to their hiring/culture/turnover problems, so are candidates to some of the key questions they will be asked in a job interview. 

One of the great thrills as a recruiter is to interview a candidate who has done their homework on the employer (in addition to the comprehensive Position Prospectus we provided), who has thought carefully about questions they will be asked about their own record of performance  — and has crafted authentic, compelling answers — and who can respond with clarity and insight when they are asked a non-traditional question such as how do you hire?  Or, how do you fire? 

They quickly move to the top of my list of recommended candidates.

The smart businesses across the country are striving to hire and retain the best talent available.  This is especially true at the management and executive levels where a bad hire can do a great deal of damage to morale, quality and profits.  This quest is taking those companies down the path of an amped up job interview process that is
characterized by coordination of the interview team on question subject matter and a requirement that the interviewers be well prepared and that they complete a candidate evaluation questionnaire that requires thoughtful  detailed responses, not just they won’t fit here, with no supporting information for this assessment.   It has been my experience that the they won’t fit in here and other similar responses come from managers or peers who may be threatened by the candidate. 

Where does this leave job seekers?  For those who show up unprepared, thinking they can wing it based on their background/experience may land them in the pile of rejected candidates. 

On a related issue, a candidate telling the recruiter that they have done extra homework on the organization is not going to earn them any brownie points, much less any advantage over his or her competitors.  Like the rest of the new value proposition interview questions, candidates should use their additional research to provide even more insightful responses, connecting past experience and accomplishments with issues the client may be facing.   

So in preparing for a question like How do you hire? a candidate will be well-served by addressing a parallel theme:  How do you pursue a new career opportunity?

Photo Credit:  Shutterstock