SAGE ADVICE FOR RESUMES, INTERVIEWING, AND MORE!
- By bruce w clagg
Hiring Managers & Executives – Isn’t It Time To Improve Interviewing Skills?
As a former VP/GM for more than 30 years, I’m sure that most, if not all of you can relate to our own interviewing ‘format’ and practices. We don’t actually look forward to interviewing five, or six strangers with decent resumes, do we? There are so many business items on our plate this week, but it must be done, right?
I believe that all organizations (federal government excluded) must get more done with fewer people. To accomplish this we must (A) automate whatever our budget allows, (B) reorganize where needed to meet our customers’ needs and corporate goals, and (C) surround ourselves with brilliant people. The old “80/20 Rule” can no longer be acceptable. WE MUST GET MORE ACCOMPLISHED WITH FEWER PEOPLE in order to survive and grow in this over-regulated, worldwide economy! Headcount, and the associated expenses, are generally the LARGEST company expense!
When were you ever trained on interviewing? I don’t know of a single MBA program today that offers such a course, unless one pursues a B.A./M.A. in Human Resources. As you know, HR and recruiters interview much differently than DMs (hiring decision-makers). That individual’s thinking process is probably much different than yours and a candidate that they believe is “overqualified” just might have the qualifications that you need to “surround yourself with brilliance,” but you will never get to speak with that individual. HR probably emailed the “Dear John.” I’ll wager that the interview questions that you’ve used over the years came from an HR seminar…mine did!
Think back. When you were deciding to replace someone, or open a new position, you thought about the issues, challenges, problems that would face this person, both short-term and long-term. If there were no issues, challenges, and problems you would either eliminate the position, or not open the new position and save the company a fortune, right? If your network of associates and friends cannot quickly recommend someone, you begin the drudgery of completing a Human Resources Personnel Requisition and fill-in the blanks about Requirements/Qualifications. Fun, huh? (Notice that we NEVER include the issues, challenges, and problems the candidate(s) will face within the Req since HR doesn’t run your department and wouldn’t know a great response from a good response)
My strong suggestion is to turn this somewhat boring interrogation into a dialog that is more informative, more enjoyable, and provides clear separation between the candidates, no matter whom appears better in print. Both parties win!
Try this – type each major issue, challenge, problem onto its own Word document and print. Normally, there are only two to four of these; the more minor issues can be ignored, or covered during the interview, time permitting. Now, for each candidate you have a separate issue printed with a lot of white space beneath and, probably, only two to four of them.
“Robert, I have prepared the major issues and challenges that will face our successful candidate. I’m going to walk you to the conference room and I would like you to write down your best solution to each issue. I’m not going to grade your handwriting, nor ask you to give it to me, but when completed, knock on my door and we are going to discuss YOUR solution(s) to each issue. How does THAT sound?”
THIS keeps the interview finally focused on what is most critical with that prospective, new employee. You can quickly tell if this person has the expertise, persona, et al to successfully face those challenges and although one candidate looked tremendous in print, their responses were, let’s say, less than stellar. This creates a meaningful dialog void of the stupid, useless questions and provides clear separation between the candidates, and most importantly allows you, the DM, to hire “the right employee” instead of crossing your fingers and extending an Offer to “the best candidate!”
If something is easier, more enjoyable, and more productive, I believe in using it…whatever it is. Your thoughts?
Hello! I'm Bruce Clagg,
Advanced Career Solutions
Advanced Career Solutions (ACS) is a professional resume writing services firm also providing unique, job interview training, LinkedIn Profile rebuilding, career counseling & coaching from the ONLY multi-certified professional* in Pennsylvania.
- Bruce Clagg, Rapid Employment & Career Management Coach
*The four Certifications are noted within.