No one has ever asked our firm to “find someone average”. Employers are always seeking high performing employees. The best indicator of future performance is past performance. To help identify the high performers we like to ask “intelligent interviewing questions“ to help determine a candidate’s past job performance and ability to thrive with our client. Coupled with thorough reference checking, intelligent, probing questions of the candidate will help you determine if your candidate has the experience, attributes and skills that you are looking for.
EXAMPLE – Collection Manager Search:
SITUATION: You are searching for a winning Collection Manager because your collection department is underperforming, in fact delinquency has increased and dollars per Collector dropped 12% in the past 6 months. You decide you need to look outside for a stronger Collection Manager.
Prepare a list of intelligent questions designed to help you better understand the interviewees’ experiences, abilities and limitations.
During the interview, explain the situation to each interviewee
“Here is our problem ……………….” then ask:
– Do you think that you could fix this problem?
– Have you had a similar situation in your career?
– Tell us how you handled it ?
– Walk us through the steps you would take to resolve this issue
– What metrics would you use to assess our problem?
– What information would you need from us to prepare for your 1st day of work?
– What are your thoughts on how long it will take to fix this problem assuming we have a pretty good team of Collectors?
– Tell us what your first few days here would look like?
Of course we ask a lot more questions than these, however with just these questions, both you and the interviewee will know if you are interviewing the right candidate! This is what I mean by preparing intelligent questions that will yield the information you need to make an intelligent hiring decision.
EXAMPLE – Regional Sales Manager Search:
Here are some questions we are using for a Regional Sales Manager search we conducted for an automotive finance company:
– What are the performance measurements for your position?
– Tell us how are you doing ?
– So you………..( increased sales by 20% in 12 months). That’s terrific. How did you do that?
– What were the biggest obstacles you ran into?
– How did you overcome them?
– What lessons did you learn?
– Show me – Can you confirm those accomplishments? Sales sheets? Documentation to support this?
– Can we confirm this with your past Supervisor?
– Do you think you could duplicate this success in our position?
“Let me tell you more about our opportunity ……..This region is underperforming. They have 8 Reps – 2 are good – 2 are average – 4 are underperforming.”
– Have you been in a similar position?
– Tell us how you handled it? – Please walk us through your thoughts on how you would resolve our problem.
– What is your process for evaluating a Sales Rep? –
– How do you determine if a Sales Rep needs more coaching – time to develop – additional help from us or be fired?
– Tell us how you plan to earn the respect of our sales staff?
– What information will you need from us to evaluate our sales staff?
– Tell us what your 1st 30 days will look like?
– The nonprime automotive finance business is very very competitive. Tell us what you teach your Sales Reps to help them earn more business from their dealership clients?
There may come a time when our Credit Executives make changes to our sales programs that are necessary for profitability but make our programs less competitive for a while. The Sales Reps will get push back from their dealerships and will be upset with the company and complain about the program.
– Have you been in a similar situation?
– How did you handle it?
– What do you tell the Sales Reps when changes are made to the program?
As you can see from this line of questioning, we are taking the time to learn about each candidate’s job performance and how they think. This will help you visualize how a candidate will fit into your position and company!
TIP: Great candidates can be just as nervous in interviews as weak candidates. Judge them by depth, intelligence and thoroughness of their answers. Did they listen to your question and endeavor to answer it or did they dance around it?
POST INTERVIEW – ask yourself and members of the hiring team:
– Do you think the candidate can duplicate that success with us?
– What obstacles may prevent the candidate from achieving that same level of success with us?
– What help / training / investment from us will he need?
– Do we have the ability – time – personnel, etc. to help her duplicate her past success?
– Why is it the compelling reasoning for the candidate to take our position?
I teach executives and managers that “going with your gut” only produces consistently intelligent hires when backed by the hard work of intelligent interviewing and reference checking.
TIP: The best indicator of future performance is past performance so take the time to understand it !