How To.Know.If You Got The Job After Interview Another Candidatd Don’t Assume All Candidates are Ambitious – Make Them Prove It!

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Don’t Assume All Candidates are Ambitious – Make Them Prove It!

The goal of behavior-based interviewing is to identify the qualities that work well in your organization. But you also have to look at the flip side: what are the characteristics of your problem people?

Look at the qualities of people that didn’t perform so well AND BE HONEST. In some cases, the responsibility may lie with you in how you interviewed, hired or trained them. In other cases, it will be a part of their personality that you didn’t account for in all of your pre-planning, but turned out to be a crucial skill in the job.

If you can recall, think about the interview questions you asked them, or at least the type of questions. I recommend that you have a standard set of questions that you have on hand to consistently ask all applicants. You can feel free to improvise and elaborate on a candidate’s experience in a different area, but the list should be a baseline to ensure you are asking consistent questions of all candidates and give you confidence that you are conducting fair and accurate interviews .

Let’s take an example. Let’s say you hired a person with a freshly minted MBA. You figured, since they went back to school to get an MBA, that they were ambitious, goal oriented, and interested in learning as much as possible at your company to advance their career. That was your guess. You have since discovered that they were anything but. You also learned that an important quality in that position is ambition and a sense of purpose. In the interview, did you ask them why they took the time to work towards their MBA? What was their favorite class? Have you polled them for experiences they had in school that show you what their passions are?

If you need someone with ambition, then you need to ask questions that demonstrate that quality.

Are they considering going back to school for another degree? Are they taking classes now, even as part of a continuing education program?

The following questions will also help you determine a candidate’s ambition, but should be asked outside the interview setting. Here because. These questions are most effectively asked when the candidate’s guard is a little off because you want an honest answer. Once most candidates walk into an interviewer’s office or conference room, he knows the game is on and he’s about to pitch the answers he thinks he wants to hear. If you ask these questions casually on your way to or from reception, you’re more likely to get a truer answer.

Here’s how you can start the conversation: “I just read an interesting article online (or book or magazine) about [insert something relevant to your business or industry, or an event in the news]. This topic fascinates me only because [give a short explanation here]. Have you read anything about it?” or you could ask “What topics are you interested in learning about, (reading more, researching?)” The actual topics you and they mention are somewhat irrelevant. The goal here is to loosen them up and find out if there is any depth to them. They may not be interested in what you specifically mention, but if their eyes light up when they talk about learning more about scuba diving and conquering their fear of diving, you can get a hint that they are interested in improving themselves, and this is an indication of their level of ambition. If they don’t give a concrete answer, make a mental note and if possible, try asking a similar question before exiting the interview to get a better answer.

It’s okay to ask about any hobbies or skills they’ve been interested in learning. If they don’t have a great answer to this question, you don’t have to rule them out completely, but you should factor that into how they performed in the rest of the interview to determine whether or not they’re a good candidate.

Copyright 2006 Melanie Szlucha

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