Thursday, July 06, 2006

Selection interviews: How to pick the right candidate

In a previous post, I offered up a snippet of advice on preparing for an interview if you're a candidate. This time I thought I'd offer some advice to managers and recruiters who are preparing to grill the candidates.

One of the keys to successful selection interviewing is to ask candidates questions that focus on how they had demonstrated skills in the past rather than how they would demonstrate them in the future.

If you're interviewing for a bodyguard, surely you want to hire someone who can talk about how they had saved the lives of their clients in the past. You wouldn't want to recruit some geek who could only talk about how they would do it 'cause they'd read stacks of books on the topic.

Sounds obvious enough when applied to hiring a bodyguard. But why recruit someone who can only talk hypothetically about how they would plan a project or convince a colleague about an idea? Why not recruit someone who has concrete examples of how they have demonstrated those skills in the past.

So. Questions about past experience = good. Hypothetical questions = bad.

And it's not just my opinion either. Bucket loads of research shows that the technique known as competency-based interviewing (sometimes called behavioural interviewing) is the most successful way to select strong candidates.

Anyway. If you'd like some in-depth reading on selection techniques, click the Talentspace logo below to download a pdf of an article on effective recruitment: