By: Eric Herrenkohl
How can you improve your team's hiring decisions when it comes to how to interview candidates? How can you avoid common hiring mistakes? One way is to conduct a post-game meeting with everyone involved in the hiring process.
1. Share impressions. Allow each interviewer to share his or her impressions of each candidate based on verbatim notes. What impressed them? What questions did the candidate raise? What answers did the candidate provide that were weak or incomplete? By sharing these impressions, other interviewers can verify their own candidate reactions. Inevitably, one interviewer catches something that everyone else missed.
2. Encourage open and honest commentary. If you have a range of junior and senior people involved in the interview process, have the senior executives wait to share their impressions so as not to sway the junior people in the room. At the same time, emphasize with everyone that hiring is too important a decision to have anyone hold back their honest impressions.
3. Utilize an interview scorecard. Force all the interviewers to rank the candidates interviewed using an interview scorecard and make a recommendation based on the information gathered so far as to who they would hire. This process forces people to compare and contrast candidates clearly.
4. Beware of primacy and recency. Human beings have a tendency to remember what came first and what came last, and to forget what came in between. Warn interviewers to be aware of this “primacy and recency” dynamic and to guard against it. After all, if the 4th candidate out of 6 was the best person you interviewed, you don’t want his or her name to get lost in the shuffle.
5. Create a short list of candidates you will invite for second interviews. Exclude people who clearly don’t have the accomplishments or background to do the job you need done. Include both highly qualified candidates and individuals who have the background to do the job but may not have communicated their accomplishments as effectively as other candidates. The latter candidate can often become a first choice. When you invite people for second interviews, keep everyone on the interview team in the loop, whether or not they are involved in the second interview.
Eric Herrenkohl is the founder and president of Herrenkohl Consulting, a firm that helps clients build great sales teams. He is the author of the book, How to Hire A-Players (John Wiley & Sons, April 2010.) To receive his free e-letter, subscribe at herrenkohlconsulting.