My book Ingaging Leadership is not a handbook on interviewing or hiring. There are many excellent books out there that are. However, I would like to offer some suggestions on hiring the right people, from my perspective, that can help you cultivate a more Ingaged organization.
To evaluate listening skills . . .
Chances are that you will not gain too much insight into a job candidate’s listening skills by asking, “Are you a good listener?” But you can learn a lot by paying attention to how well people listen during interviews. When you ask open-ended questions, do they listen well enough to respond directly to the questions you ask, as well as to any subtext?
To evaluate openness . . .
In interviews, it can be difficult to evaluate a job candidate’s desire to communicate in the open and committed way that supports Ingagement.
You could say something like, “In our company, we value openness. Do you value openness?” Yet because the person you are interviewing would like to be hired, chances are the he or she will reply, “Oh yes, very much, I value it.” (Candidates are unlikely to say, “I know it is a core value of your company, but I don’t value it.”)
The following questions can help you assess how open the person has been in the past, and how much value he or she places on openness:
- “Tell me about a time when a colleague or manager couldn’t deal with opinions that differed from his or hers? What did you do?”
- “In what areas in our company do you think openness would be helpful? Where would it be ineffective?”
- “What are some examples from your career that would demonstrate that you value openness?”
- “Can you tell me about a work situation when someone’s openness and honesty have been beneficial?”
Those are probing and effective questions. I have noticed that it is difficult for candidates to lie on the spot or misrepresent themselves while answering them.
Question to evaluate other key areas . . .
- To evaluate orientation toward results – “Tell me about a time when something you got done demonstrated your focus on results.”
- To evaluate honesty – “Share an example of a time when someone acted dishonestly in the workplace. What did you do, what were the results, and what was your take-away lesson?”
- To evaluate the desire to collaborate – “Have you collaborated with other people to solve a problem? What did you learn that you believe could apply to working here?”
When you ask people to reflect on past experiences with questions like those, you elicit deeper information about what they believe and practice. You also have an improved ability to understand how well they will fit in your organization.