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Interview tactics

The Context

As the employer, you have reviewed the applications, completed the initial screening phone interviews, and are setting up face-to-face, albeit virtual, interviews. From there you will move quickly to applicant assessment, background, and reference checks, the job offer and then hiring. You have done this before. It is a process. You have your list of standard, job description-based, questions. You are set. The modern workplace is characterised by anxiety, tight (and moving) deadlines, quick decision making and necessitates an agile approach of some sort. Perhaps you are not ‘set’.

The Question

Does the screening interview, reading a pre-formatted CV, asking a flurry of standard questions and contacting premeditated references provide you with the context and information you require to make an informed decision? What do you really want to assess?

Heuristic 1: Arrange interviews during and after business hours.

This may seem rather conventional. The candidate’s response to each will tell you something about their loyalty and commitment.

Heuristic 2: Set difficult, job-related tasks.

For example, give a sales candidate a value proposition and several prospects (Actual people in the company who have been ‘prepped’.) Ask the candidate to qualify the prospects and recommend how the sales stage status should change. How they approach this, rather than what they produce, will tell you something about tenacity and their ‘willingness to fail’.

Heuristic 3: Ask unrelated questions and appear to disengage. 

How they deal with this will tell you something about how they cope with unconnected context, distractions, and unexpected rejection.

Heuristic 4: Include an arbitrary colleague in the interview. 

The receptionist in a sales position interview, for example. Introduce the person. They never speak. Whether the candidate inquiries as to why this person is in the interview, or not, tells you something about their ‘mapping the room’ and ‘first mover’ skills

Interview tactics

  • Arrange interviews during and after business hours.
  • Set difficult, job-related tasks.
  • Ask unrelated questions and appear to disengage.
  • Include an arbitrary colleague in the interview.
Happy Interviewing!


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