Is interviewing a waste of everyone’s time?


My first question for 2016 is whether it is worth interviewing people or to just give them the job on your gut instinct?


If like many people in firms across the globe this New Year you’ll get asked to interview candidates to either be part of your team or company. If you’re not given a brief to do this, don’t bother trying to wing it, it only makes you look bad. Just have a nice chat.

What inspired me to write this was something I tweeted yesterday from Business Insider UK about Automattic – the company that runs my blogsite and countless other millions – WordPress.

The billion-dollar firm hires employees without ever meeting them or talking to them on the phone. Now that’s not the whole story but looking at the CEO’s stats; in 18 months he reviewed 251 CV / resumes, he’s ‘chat-interviewed’ 63 people, given 41 of them trial projects and hired 14. Not bad ratios compared to many.

But if you’re not prepared to take the leap of faith, and you do want to interview people here is my second tip of 2016. Do it properly.

It’s really simple, I have used this four step method for most of my career and it works. Simply assess people and break down the various interviews into sections or give the various interviewers a brief to tackle different parts of the interview assessment.

1.       Knowledge / expertise is necessary to do the job – this is what people need to know to do their jobs well. There is a note of caution here that many people who have partners who drive badly, are terrible at DIY or have the basic principles of cooking well versed – you can know how to do something but not be good at doing it!

2.      Skills / capabilities are needed to perform the functional element of the role, these can be technical skills, or soft skills like management, communication or influencing. Again you may be very capable but not have the knowledge, experience or understanding to translate that into results – excellent sales people are renown to be some of the worst sales managers for example – which leads me to my next point.

3.       Competencies are the attitudes and behaviour patterns that underpin how people do their jobs. Competencies influence how well people apply their knowledge, technical and soft skills to do the job well. The example I use the most is coaching. Often sports coaches are not as successful or seen as good as the people they teach, but most if not all top sports people use others that could be seen as ‘inferior’ to them to improve their game.

4.      The big one that often stumps people is cultural fit – whatever that means to your firm. One of the easiest ways for candidates to get rejected is “not a cultural fit”. I am baffled that so many people get cultural fit wrong.

It’s not about hiring people the same types, or people who seem nice and would probably fit in.

If that’s how you’re going to hire talented people you might as well not interview them in the first place, just look on LinkedIn and see if they have a nice smile.

Written by Stewart Taylor

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