Interviewing “other kinds of people”

Not everyone who conducts an interview has been trained to conduct an interview.  Although interviewing potential recruits is something which most Managers will do at some time, and interviewing and hiring the right candidates can be important as identifying and bringing on board the right clients,  the way in which interviews are conducted can vary widely depending on the interviewer.   Many companies do not offer training or advice on how to interview successfully and even as I type this, across the length and breadth of the advertising and marketing communications world there are countless interviewers  sat in board rooms and coffee shops, meeting rooms and hotel lobbies unwittingly wasting precious interview moments by not asking the right questions to get the information they need to make the hiring decisions they need to make.

Nothing new there, granted.  However the following paragraph in a recent post on the Creative Social blog set me thinking about this issue all over again.

“As well as collaborators, agencies need to attract, hire and breed other kinds of people. Problem solvers. Generalists. Entrepreneurs. Inventors. People who understand business. People who understand people. People who can learn and adapt quickly. People who don’t sit comfortably inside the boxes that they’re given to sit in” .

It is entirely true of course that given the rapid recent developments in digital technologies  agencies are finding themselves needing to hire “other kinds of people” -the problem is of course that many of them have historically been notoriously bad at hiring anything except exactly the same sort of people.  It is relatively easy to interview someone for a role you used to do yourself at one time, but much more challenging to interview someone whose job you may be unfamiliar with at granular level.  As digital integrates with mobile, offline integrates with online, media integrates with creative and everyone tries to work out what to do about Social Media, the need to bring in people with specific technical skills coupled with transferable skills and abilities seems  set to increase.  The default recruitment brief  setting of “find me someone with the same job title at a competitor” is not going to be the best guarantee of attracting the best and most appropriate complementary talent to your company.

So how do you interview someone when you may have a less than perfect understanding of the role (or even the company) they are currently working in?

The answer is Behavourial Interviewing.  The basic premise behind behavioural interviewing is that the most accurate predictor of future performance is past performance in a similar situation.

Please go to the post Example List of Behavioral Questions for some useful focus areas and specific examples of this type of interview question.

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Claire Griffin on LinkedIn