When you think about it, the amount of time devoted to the hiring process is pretty insignificant. This is ironic given that it is one of the most critical decisions made at any company. Perhaps, there are a few hours, or at best, a few days devoted to screening, interviewing and reference checking.
The process really cries out for a method – some way of determining whether the individual was appropriate for the position and for the culture. Such an opportunity presented itself in recent weeks and it afforded me the opportunity to create such an approach.
I have always found that having multiple people interview a candidate is extremely important. Everyone has “blindspots,” areas that are not important to them or areas that they are willing to gloss over. Multiple interviewers tend to mitigate this problem and force dialogue during the assessment process.
A COO recently invited me to participate in the selection of a new leader for one of his operating companies. In order to gain as close to a full perspective of the candidates, it was agreed that his focus would include prior industry work experience. The dimension that I hoped to contribute was an assessment of managerial style and knowledge in what was important in running a company
To prepare for my role in the interview, I organized this plan.
- Deciding what to evaluate
- Building a way for capturing the information
- Designing the interview questions
- Preparing the introduction so that the interviewee can be engaged and comfortable
- Providing the assessment
The pre-work stage was devoted to understanding what the company provides, the culture of the company, the background of the candidates and what the heart of the assignment was.
Understanding the “heart of the assignment,” is perhaps the most critical element in this stage. Every leadership style has its place. A young team may need a patient mentor. A seasoned team may need an expert guide. An undisciplined team might do best with a firm leader dedicated to creating structure. In short, when looking for a leader, the answer to who is the right candidate is often, “it depends…”
In the next post, we’ll continuing reviewing these stages.