Recently I was asked by a client, who was new to hiring executives, what to expect and what to do in an interview. I compiled a few tips for conducting interviews, and this is what I shared:
1. Set Expectations:
- Have an agenda to give structure to the meeting.
- “We have 90 minutes together to answer 3-5 questions I have for you, as well as questions you have for me. Our goal is to get to know one another and see if the opportunity we have here is mutually a good fit.”
2. Tell them your company story:
- Give them the background for this role, the company, relationships, industry, clients, and competition. What has worked in the past? Not worked? Want to try new?
3. Ask them their story:
- Be Consistent: Ask them all the same 3-5 questions to start.
- Behavioral questions tell more about their abilities and experiences, so ask them about times when they faced challenges such as you have for them here, and ask them how they handled them?
4. Have an open conversation:
- Let them speak along the way, making it more conversational, so they share with you what is on their mind.
5. Answer their questions:
- Get their questions on the table at least by mid-way, so you have time to answer them.
- Follow up your answers with questions back to them about that topic.
- “Is that what you expected? How do you feel about that answer? Can you work with that? Why is that important to you?” Etc.
6. Next steps:
- Let them know next steps, thank them for coming, and let them know you will be debriefing with your retained search firm consultant.
7. Document- Write it down:
- Write down your thoughts, reactions, and questions after they have left.
- It’s very important to take notes at this time. Don’t let anything turn you off…just you’re your hesitations as questions for further candidate assessment.
- Note what you liked, and what you would like to change about their candidacy if you could.
- Be prepared to discuss each candidate’s pros and cons with your search firm.
Debrief with your executive search consultant. Be prepared to answer:
- “What did you like best”
- “What would you change if you could?”
- “What additional information would you need to continue pursuing this candidate for this role?”
No interview checklist is ever complete, but this helped our client to a confident start.