Prepping Candidates and Taming Hiring Managers

Most candidates — even high-level executives — need to be prepped before the interview. The reason for this is obvious: they all think they’re great interviewees. Most aren’t. Making matters worse, the hiring managers they’ll be meeting think they’re endowed with some special instinct that allows them to accurately assess candidate competency. Most aren’t.

Since I don’t like to present great candidates who get inadvertently excluded for dumb reasons, I need to prep both my hiring manager clients and my candidates to increase the likelihood the candidates are appropriately and accurately evaluated. This way I don’t have to do searches over again and rely on luck to make placements.

To be taken seriously on this point I had to write a book: Hire With Your Head. Basically it describes a process on how to get hiring managers and candidates on the same page. From the hiring manager’s perspective, it’s describing the work as a series of performance objectives required for on-the-job success. (I refer to these as performance profiles.) From the candidate’s perspective, it’s having them describe a comparable accomplishment for each performance objective. For example, let’s assume the job required the new product marketing manager to develop and launch 25 new iPad apps over the course of the next year. During the interview you’d ask the candidate to describe in detail some comparable product-marketing-related accomplishment. I suggest spending 10-15 minutes getting lots of details for each accomplishment. (Here’s my one-question interview article I wrote for ERE in 2001 on how to do this.) These performance objectives can be split among the hiring team; then, during the collective debrief, the team can rank the candidate on how well the accomplishments compare.

At least that’s the theory. In the field other things happen to mess up this plan.


Photograph taken during the California rodeo, Salinas, 2006 edition Copyright © 2006 David MonniauxMost candidates — even high-level executives — need to be prepped before the interview. The reason for this is obvious: they all think they’re great interviewees. Most aren’t. Making matters worse, the hiring managers they’ll be meeting think they’re endowed with some special instinct that allows them to accurately assess candidate competency. Most aren’t.

Since I don’t like to present great candidates who get inadvertently excluded for dumb reasons, I need to prep both my hiring manager clients and my candidates to increase the likelihood the candidates are appropriately and accurately evaluated. This way I don’t have to do searches over again and rely on luck to make placements.

To be taken seriously on this point I had to write a book: Hire With Your Head. Basically it describes a process on how to get hiring managers and candidates on the same page. From the hiring manager’s perspective, it’s describing the work as a series of performance objectives required for on-the-job success. (I refer to these as performance profiles.) From the candidate’s perspective, it’s having them describe a comparable accomplishment for each performance objective. For example, let’s assume the job required the new product marketing manager to develop and launch 25 new iPad apps over the course of the next year. During the interview you’d ask the candidate to describe in detail some comparable product-marketing-related accomplishment. I suggest spending 10-15 minutes getting lots of details for each accomplishment. (Here’s my one-question interview article I wrote for ERE in 2001 on how to do this.) These performance objectives can be split among the hiring team; then, during the collective debrief, the team can rank the candidate on how well the accomplishments compare.

At least that’s the theory. In the field other things happen to mess up this plan. Leer más “Prepping Candidates and Taming Hiring Managers”