No matter what your role is in the interview process, whether you’re the candidate or the hiring manager, you need to be great at interviewing. Over the past 10 months or so, we have been using a different interview model for our candidates, the performance-based interview. It is an interview model that is geared around the candidate’s past success in roles that closely align to the role they are interviewing for.

In order for this to work, you need a few things:

  1. A manager that fully understands the real job requirements: If the line manager doesn’t fully understand what the job requirements are, they can’t accurately determine if the candidate is competent or motivated to do the work required in the actual environment of the job.
  2. A performance profile: This describes the main performance objectives a person taking the job needs to do to be successful. Traditional job descriptions only list required skills and experience and aren’t very useful for hiring purposes.
  3. A recruiter who can control the process from beginning to end: The recruiter needs to ensure that all candidates are screened on the same criteria. They need to ensure that everyone makes the right decisions with the right information. The recruiter should be considered as the Director of this process.

Performance-based interviewing has worked very well for us over the past few months. The interview is basically built around 2 questions.

The first question: Tell me about your most significant accomplishment.

This question is to be directed towards past experience related to an actual performance objective required for job success. You can ask this question for each comparable role that they have listed on their resume. This will give you great insight to the candidate’s achiever pattern.

You will follow this question up with some “peel-the-onion” questions such as:

  • What was your exact role?
  • Walk me through the plan and the results.
  • Walk me through the biggest decision made.
  • What was the biggest challenge?
  • How did you overcome the problem?
  • What was the environment like?
  • What would you do differently?

The second question: How would you solve this problem?

While the first question gives you examples of comparable past performance, this question uncovers another dimension of performance. You will get a better understanding of their job-related problem-solving skills, decision-making, creativity, planning, strategic and multi-functional thinking, and potential. Here’s a sample Lead Gen question: If you were to get this job, what would you need to know in order to book your first meeting? Based on the candidate’s answer, you can get into a back and forth dialogue. Here are some secondary questions you could ask:

  • What would you do first?
  • How would you determine the resources needed?
  • Whose advice would you seek out?
  • How would you prioritize your work?
  • How long do you think it would take before you’re ready to pick up the phone?
  • What have you done that’s most similar?

Once you’ve completed the interview, you’ll get together with the team and make an assessment of the candidate. If you follow this interview model correctly, all decisions will be made based on evidence and not emotions. And when you hire based on evidence and not intuition, you can avoid making a hiring blunder. Imagine an office full of great hires… I imagine it all the time… it’s a recruiter’s dream!!!



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