Main menu

Stay in touch for more remote team tips

08 nov

3 tactics on How to Conduct a Great Interview

 

Recruiting the right group of individuals that meld into a collaborative, finely-tuned workforce goes beyond evaluating a potential candidate’s resume. You need to find excellent people who are a good fit for your culture - if you have a defined culture and you find people that integrate well with it, the rest takes care of itself.

We’ve talked about defining your company’s culture before - and even wrote a free e-book about the subject - and we hope you have taken that advice to heart. So now, it’s time to talk about what comes next: making sure that that potential employee with the AAA resume is also a good match for your company and its culture.

Here are three strategies you can employ during the interview process to make sure you’re not only hiring a great person, you’re hiring the perfect person.

 

The 3-Step Interview

The 3-Step interview is a technique based around arranging a diverse selection of interviewers, from several areas of the company, and then gauging the prospect’s reaction to each one.

This means having one junior interviewer, as well as someone who is the candidate's peer. Finally, have a third part of the interview be conducted by a superior - or even better, if possible, the CEO of the company.

By examining the differences between various levels interacting with the candidate, you can then spot possible areas of trouble. For example, anyone who treats a perceived junior badly is a red flag, as that means that he is not a very big team player or may feel that he is too good to be evaluated by a junior peer, revealing a lack humility. On the other hand, someone who treats a senior / potential boss with much more reverence than he treated his peer may be a very political person, more concerned with career advancement than with actually being a part of the team or helping the company grow.

We realize that it may feel needlessly elaborate to have three different people evaluate someone, and then need to sync up to cross-reference their thoughts about the person, but the more work you put into building your team, the more rewards you’ll reap later on. Trust us: time spent in the hiring process is always time well spent.

 

Turn the Worst Interview Question Ever on Its Head

Why did anyone ever come up with that question? You know the one: “What is your greatest weakness?” Few people are prepared to answer this, and even less know what to do with the answer. We try to deny it, but there is such thing as a bad question, and this one is one of the worst.

What are you expecting, the interviewee to take this jacket off, revealing a red “S”, and telling you “Kryptonite”? Most people aren't ready to admit what they're bad at. And to be honest, we are always the worst judges of ourselves, so just asking this point blank will serve little purpose other than make the interviewee uncomfortable.

As with many things in life, a gentle re-phrasing goes a long way. Next time, why don’t you try:

"What was a time in a past assignment where you seriously messed up and had to be reprimanded and/or corrected?  Tell me about how you felt and what you did about that reprimand?"

This shifts the onus from “being bad at” - which no-one wants to believe he or she is - to “having messed up” , which really, happens to everyone.

Now if a person maintains that he or she never messed up, then we have a problem. On the other hand, if the interviewee replies honestly - and most will, because we made the question much less negatively charged - you’ll not only learn about a time where he had difficulties, you’ll also know something much more valuable: how he handles postmortems (you’re conducting one right now) and feedback, a cornerstone of being part of a fantastic team.

Mess-ups are natural and a part of growth.  Most people cover them up, deny them and will have trouble finding an answer to this question. A truly mature candidate will admit to a time where his work wasn’t perfect, and answer honestly.

 

Ask Questions That Matter

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when interviewing for culture is that they tend to act as if they are interviewing for friendship. Culture is not about your employees having the same favorite foods and video games. As a manager, you SHOULD care about your employees' hobbies and interests, but that’s once they are on your team, not while interviewing.

When interviewing, you want to get a picture of how happy the person will be when required to work in your workflow, with your rules and expectations. Give the interviewee the chance to ask YOU questions about the company. See how interested they seem, see if they have done their homework about your company, see how willing he is to ask questions and what’s the quality of those questions. It’s always best to see than to ask - so instead of asking about his communication skills, actually test them out, make the interview a real back and forth.

Use your questions to get a clear picture about how interested and committed they are about their work. Ask them about what type of technology excites them, ask there do they find out about new things related to their field. If a person in the IT field isn’t passionate about self-actualization, that’s a red flag. Ask them what would their ideal work environment be.

The fact that the employee is remote is not important - he will be working for you under your requisites and expectations, so if he is working from home, you still will have a big impact in his work environment, even if that environment is not physically maintained by you. It’s not good to get a great employee that doesn’t like doing stuff your way. Yes, it’s nice to have different points of views and people suggesting different ways of doing this, but you want to have some common ground at the start of your relationship.

Explain to the prospective employee how your workflow is, for a bit, and ask him how he feels about each step. Ask him how it compares with previous experiences. An interview is a good opportunity to give a candidate a tour of your internal processes - the ways he responds to them will tell you a lot about how well he will fit in the team.

 

In Closing

When hiring through DistantJob, you don’t need to worry about how skilled the prospective employees are. We’ve taken care of that for you. We headhunt currently employed people that are in demand because they have the skills and a proven track record.

What you need to worry about - because no-one knows your company and your team better than you - is if the person is a good fit or not. A great interview will let you know for sure, and these are three proven strategies you can use to get there.