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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Are you fit for the team?

Research reported on the ERE tells us that nearly one-in-two new hires are classified as failures within 18 months. How do you know if a candidate will be a good cultural fit with your team? The question of “fit” when interviewing candidates is one of the most critical components in making a hiring decision.

The key is to ask questions at relate directly to their experience in other positions or situations. Use questions to learn more about how a person responds under stress, interacts with others and handles change. The goal centers on getting concrete data to validate your hiring decision.

The candidate should be talking about 80% of the interview time. Try not to prompt the candidate with the answers you would like to hear. If you learn something that concerns you, ask for more details and examples. If possible, have more than one person interview the candidate to get another perspective.

Some sample questions include:

--What are three things you like about the companies you have worked for in the past? And what three things didn’t you like?
--Who was your best boss? Why? Who was your worst boss? Why?
--Tell me about the accomplishment you are most proud of in a recent job. Describe the kind of work environment that helped you be successful.
--Describe a problem situation with a co-worker that you experienced. How did the situation get resolved?
--Describe an example of when you were part of a team that reached its goal. What role did you play and why was the team successful?
--If I talked to your peers from your last position, what would they would say are your strengths or areas for development?

There are numerous examples on Monty Python or The Office for lessons on what NOT to do during interviews.

And as a final word of advice, always interview your final list of candidates a second time; you can probe concerns and avoid decisions made on first impressions.

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