What is the point of a job interview?
In our age of social media, where so much information is available about each of us, asking about the point of a job interview is a good question! Interviews are typically designed to weed out unsuitable candidates, raising an interesting question: does such an exclusionary process ultimately attract top talent?
The question is one that applies to us as both a hirer and a hire, let me explain.
As a hire – we primarily focus on:
- Culture (e.g.: peers and executives, trust and ethics)
- Fit (e.g.: value of work and team dynamics)
- Prospects (e.g.: career growth, rotations, or secondments)
- Work conditions (e.g.: HR policies and total compensation)
If the interview does not allow a potential hire to assess these areas for themselves, there is a mismatch. One that may lead to the candidate withdrawing from the recruitment process.
As a hirer – we tend to primarily focus on:
- A competency fit for the open position
- A work ethic fit within the team, and the company
- A potential successor (if we’re close to moving on ourselves)
If the hirer fails to consider the hire objectives in the discussion and assessment, there is another mismatch. One which often leads to the candidate being underqualified for the role or overqualified. In both cases, the candidate is likely to leave the role prematurely. Or, it may lead to talented candidates being overlooked altogether.
Is there a better way to assess both the individual and the role? The simple answer is yes!
The real benefit for interviews (as a hirer)
- Assess the candidate’s fit, motivation, and aspirations
- A forward-looking assessment is critical to retain top talent (because talented candidates need to see a future career worth staying for).
- Assess candidates consistently and fairly
- Eliminating the halo and horns effect is critical to exclude human biases amongst the interviewers in order to identify the best talent.
- Evaluate individuals against the actual job needs
- Align the potential hire to the importance of the role, ensure fair evaluations, and promote hiring ethics and standards in order to benefit the company’s reputation.
These objectives are achieved through structured questions, processes, and critical fact-based evaluations applied in the same manner to every candidate. Strong communication and critical thinking (reflection) are essential skills as a hirer.
Job interview strategies for the potential hire
Several strategies are particularly helpful when assessing roles that we want to pursue throughout our careers.
- Delve more deeply into the job posting
- Align the role duties and requirements in the job posting with your previous experiences and then prepare to highlight your previous accomplishments.
- This approach will provide a clear template for answering these specific interview questions.
- Practice your “pitch”
- Develop a 60-90 second pitch of who you are, and therefore why the hirer wants you.
- Ask individuals you trust for feedback on its efficacy
- Develop good stories to showcase yourself
- Stories that answer how you fit the company and the role.
- Ones that are impactful and leave a lasting positive impression.
- Prepare a few of your own questions
- What do you (the interviewer) enjoy most about your role?
- How does success look, for a new hire?
- What best piece of advice do you have for me as I consider this role?
Whether you interview in person or virtually, prepare to make a powerful first impression! As the Boy Scout motto goes “Be prepared” for every meeting, conversation, and opportunity that presents itself.
Individuals and organizations serious about recruiting, to attract and retain the best talent, need to focus on relationship building to establish trust and differentiate themselves from other leaders and organizations. The mission is about creating a two-way interview experience that inspires confidence in a decision to join and grow with the company. It is in this way that real value is created in the interview process.
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Cartoon credit: Drew Panckeri