The Right Candidate from the Employment Interview

Adrianne Geiger DuMond

Adrianne Geiger DuMond

Recent research says that the ideal candidate selected from the interview often does not turn out to be the best performer on the job. He or she may spin eloquently about self and past accomplishments but may hot have the skills required for the job. What recourse is necessary in the interview process to counter this outcome? I think it is possible to structure the interview so that the skills required are represented in the kinds of questions asked in the interview.

Job Skills:

Using a subject in an interview question that has been a challenge or an issue in the position can give you better-informed insight into the candidate’s capabilities.

For example: “There are many emails that come into this position. How would you handle an influx of emails?”, or

“This organization has a very active Board of Directors, how are you accustomed to dealing with Board members”.

Competency Analysis”

An effective method of identifying particular competencies is to ask open-ended questions that provide more insight into behavioral qualities that may be important. For example, if the position requires any of the following:

  •             • leadership ability                            • self awareness
  •             •team orientation                              • ethics and integrity
  •             • conflict management                    • mental acuity
  •             • problem solving skills —- then interview questions might be:

“Tell me about a challenge you had in your last job that turned out well because of the way you handled it”. A follow-on question is:

“tell me about a challenge you had in your last job that did not turn out well and what might you have done differently”.

One can use these same open-ended questions when vetting the candidate. Asking a reference about how a candidate handled difficulties verifies one’s perceptions and insights – especially in the ethics, integrity arenas. Selecting the right candidate is far more effective, less costly, and less time consuming than making a mistake that saps energy and passion from the organization.