Intelligent Interview Design: Impulse (Part 2)

In the first part of this article (which you can read here), I discussed impulse and how to discover it in your initial recruiting call.  This part of the article is about what you do with it and how you use impulse effectively in the actual interview process.

The goal of any interview is to find the person who is the best fit- fit being defined by the right skills and experience and fits your culture.  To identify these things, you need two key elements:  the right interview team and their ability to effectively evaluate the candidate and sell the company/opportunity.

The Interview Team

When you pick the interviewers to be involved you need to involve the key decision makers or those who will be most impacted by this new hire.  This group should not just be a randomly selected group of people, chosen because they are available when the candidate was going to be at the interview location.  Rather, the team of interviewers should be carefully selected with a specific design on their role in the interview process.

Typically, this would include:

  • The decision maker/direct boss
  • The key internal customer(s) served by this candidate.
  • The head of the company or overall leader of the group.
  • The last person I would want involved is someone that will report to this candidate.  This is to the benefit of the candidate.  This person should be knowledgeable about the rest of the team and his/her peers.  All of these things are culture checks for everyone.

I am not a fan of a huge interview team for two reasons: 1) it complicates and lengthens the process.  There is a big difference between having 3-4 people available as part of a face-to-face interview vs. having to coordinate the schedules of 7-8 people during a face-to-face.  2) Who cares?  If you involve all those people then they will want their opinions to count and in the vast majority of cases, their opinions simply don’t.  So why involve them?

The smaller interview team also allows the impulse information to be utilized in the most effective way as well.

[Bear in mind, I’m writing about the candidate who has been recruited or most often, the passive candidate.  She is the candidate that has a job (most times) but is willing to leave her current company and role for a better opportunity.  This is critical to understand because it is on you, the interviewer(s), to “sell” this candidate on your opportunity; to show her that your opportunity is that “better opportunity”.  Again, it is critical to remember that she doesn’t need a job, she has one.]

The Interview

Your interview should combine equal parts of:

  • assessing the candidate’s skills and experience as it specifically relates to the role
  • assessing the candidate’s fit within the existing company culture (or if the person is there to change the company culture, assessing her ability to do that) and lastly,
  • selling the candidate on why this is an opportunity that is “better” than her current employment situation.

Using Impulse Effectively

Your interview team needs to be provided with the candidate impulse details- an effective interview is not a one-way street with the passive candidate; as the interviewer you also need to sell this person on why she should want to be there and be part of what you are creating.

The impulse information should be shared with the interview team (and this should be a team effort with considerable strategy applied to the effort as well).

Remember that impulse consists of the critical things the candidate requires to make the change from her current company to a new company, hopefully your company.  Most often, these points include things like: ability to earn more money, ability to make a bigger difference or contribution, better management or vision for the company, more realistic promotion opportunities, etc.

These things will vary from person to person and your interviewers need to introduce the key things in your role, opportunity or company that address these things for the specific purpose of illustrating, “we’re better than what you have today.”  This can be subtle or very obvious.  Both are effective.

For example, let’s say you are interviewing a sales person and one of the things that bothers her about her current organization is the constant re-juggling of territories and accounts.  Then someone on the interview team needs to talk about the consistency of accounts within your company for the sales team.  If the candidate is concerned about her company not having a vision for the future, someone should talk about the executive team’s vision and how it has (hopefully) been consistent and delivered upon.

I actually like the obvious- where the interviewer (who didn’t do the initial recruit call) says, “I understand that _____ is really important to you.  Let me tell you about there here…”  It screams- ‘we’re organized!’, ‘we talk and communicate here!’ and even ‘we’re pretty serious about getting you on our team!’ and the candidate recognizes all of it.  Think about any relationship you’ve been in, business or personal, and you can quickly recall the power of being wanted.  And this sort of interview makes your candidate feel wanted.

The goal of using impulse effectively in the interview process is to have the candidate walk away wanting the job and wanting to join your company.  Using impulse in the interview process, by all the interviewers, also delivers powerful messages to the candidate about the company, the interviewers and the way things operate here.   things like they want me to be here, they communicate and collaborate, they are organized, they know what they want and so much more.  All things that serve you well.  All things every candidates wishes she had more of in her current company.