Create a Long-Term, Effective Hiring Strategy, with Michelle Lederman

Michelle Tillis Lederman: One of the most important things in conducting an interview is knowing the skills that you actually want in that role. And that's where a lot of times organizations fall short, because we're so busy, we're doing other things and somebody's asked us to conduct this interview. And we probably haven't even looked at the resume or we're looking at the resume five minutes before they walked in.

What you really want to do if you want to think about a long-term approach to effective hiring is to really think about the types of people, skills, and personalities that are going to be effective. What you really want to do if you want to think about a long-term, organizational, effective hiring strategy is to nail down those ABC's: attributes, behaviors, and characteristics of an ideal candidate. What will actually be successful in the role?
I remember when I was coaching a client, and he had to do some hiring. And what he realized he needed in the role was somebody without ambition. Now that's not something you're putting in a job description. But the truth was, it was a small organization. There was no room. The only other level was the boss, so there was no room for growth. But they needed somebody solid, steady, who didn't like change, and who was going to be fine without that progression of the career. So understanding that characteristic of a human being is important, but you can't put that in the job description – those two things are actually a little bit separate. So get clear on you're ABC's before you interview.
It's great if you can have the questions prepared in advance. And I know that's not always possible, and you need to think on the fly. But if you're clear on your ABC's, then you can have at least a few questions ready to go about those attributes, behaviors, and characteristics that you're trying to understand. Oftentimes as an interviewer, you're sitting there worried about what's the next question, you – you have the responsibility for keeping that interview going and flowing. And so what happens is oftentimes, we're not listening to the answer; we're thinking about, "What do I ask next?" Coming in with some prepared questions can be very helpful. So here's a couple of things that you can do in advance.
At the end of the day, there's really only three questions any interviewer is trying to answer. "Can they do the job?" Do they have the technical skill, ability, education, knowledge? Two: "Do they want to do the job?" Do they have the interest and passion? And three: "Will they fit into our organization?" Is this somebody who I could work late at night with? If those are the three questions and you've got three interviewers, each of you can focus on a different area. One person can do the technical, one person can do the fit, and the other can do the interest and passion and plan. That is a way that you are not going to be redundant, and you're sure that you're getting all those questions answered.
I had a client that was doing a very high-level position, and they were very concerned that this man was coming into the role and was going to be upset that he was no longer going to have media exposure. And so they asked the question straight up: "Are you okay with not having the media exposure?" Of course, the answer was exactly what they wanted to hear: "Yeah, yeah, yeah; no problem". Well, here's a technique that you might want to try. It's called the Rule of Threes. Ask a question in three different ways to make sure that you're really getting consistent responses.
After the first round, they just weren't convinced that he really was going to be okay with it. And so they asked the question again in a different way. Still, he was saying, "Yes, no problem". And so I suggested that they ask this question: "What was the favorite part of your day of your work?" And lo and behold, one of the things that came up was dealing with the media. It's great that we knew that, because he wasn't going to be happy in the role. He didn't get the job, and that was probably the right decision for everyone.

  • 3 essential questions to ask during every interview.
  • Make sure you know the attributes, behaviors and characteristics of an ideal candidate.
  • Why it's important to repeat and rephrase certain questions.

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