Hiring: Ask the tough questions

by on August 19, 2013 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: HR Cafe

Between the costs of recruiting, training, and lost productivity, a bad hire can be devastating for your organization. You know that. And if you’re not aware of the damage you do to your own credibility if you consistently hire the wrong people, you should be.

If that’s the case, why do bad hires still happen so frequently?

Sure, sometimes an impostor job candidate may consciously try to pull a fast one on you. But the truth is that the average impostor – someone who appears to be competent and capable of doing the job, but isn’t – doesn’t want to be a con artist. Most of these people genuinely believe that they are perfect for the job to which they’re applying. They just lack self-awareness and can’t recognize their shortcomings.

What’s on the manager’s mind
Instead, the reason so many impostors manage to get jobs for which they’re a poor fit has a lot to do with what’s going on inside the mind of a hiring manager when there’s a position to be filled.

Your greatest danger is that impatience could rush you into a bad decision. A heightened sense of urgency can make you feel you must find a candidate – ANY candidate! – to fill the IT job right now.

That’s the most dangerous attitude you could bring to your interview with, say, Richard. On paper he seems perfect, and a part of you wants to keep it that way. You don’t want to ask tough questions and trip him up. Because if you do, you’ll have to START ALL OVER AGAIN with another candidate.

Specific, focused
But asking the tough questions is part of the hiring process, even when the result might mean a seemingly perfect candidate turns out to be an impostor. So what do the tough questions look like? In a perfect world, they’re specific, highly focused questions intended to do two things:

  • Give insight into whether the candidate had primary accountability for the tasks he was assigned.
  • Determine whether or not the candidate can do the job you need done.

Spot those fakes
Impostors often understand terminology and can speak conceptually. They can fake it if your questions are too general.

But they can’t fake it if you come prepared with questions that drill for specifics. Be relentless in your pursuit of convincing details and clarifications that describe the PROCESSES the candidate went through to accomplish tasks or goals. “Process questions” will trip up an impostor every time.

So the next time there’s a position to be filled, resist the urge to “just get it over with” and hire the first person with a shiny resume and a firm handshake. Do your due diligence and ask the tough questions.

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