The word “interview” makes many jittery. Often, it conjures up images of grim-faced adults in paneled rooms waiting to extract information to be used in favor of, or against those they interview.
Allow me to carry you through this scenario. An automobile showroom had placed an ad in the papers seeking applications from candidates to work for them. Peter, an ambitious young man, saw the ad and responded to it immediately. His excitement was unbridled when he was given an appointment to meet with the manager of the showroom the next day. Peter entered the portals of the showroom with dreams of a blazing future. His impressive presence caused the salesman in the showroom to mistake him for a potential customer. They went through the rigmarole of trying to impress him and it took a while before they realized that he had come to their showroom hoping to be hired. In a fraction of a second their expressions changed, attitudes transformed and there was a flurry of exasperated activity before an interview was finally made possible.
It was clear that Peter’s interviewer was ill prepared for the interview. He had not studied Peter’s resume and the questions were not targeted to assess his capability in the area of automobile sales. The interview did not last longer than 10 minutes. The manager was impressed with Peter’s presence and communication capabilities and offered immediately offered him the position. However, Peter turned it down, as he was discouraged with the lack of professionalism he had encountered. The showroom lost an excellent candidate because of the lack of readiness of the interviewer.
Every well-meaning interviewer has to know how to interview efficiently in order to identify the ideal candidate for the task at hand. This can actually be equivalent to scrambling for the ‘proverbial needle’ in a human pile. That is why interviewing skills for managers are very important.
Preparation is key to developing good interviewing skills and techniques.
There are 3 critical steps involved in preparation:
- Ensure that you match the candidates competencies with the competencies required for the position
- Ensure that you create questions that will help you to elicit the information about these competencies
- Ensure that you sell the position to the candidate by mentioning, subtly, the prospects that this opportunity has to offer
Judging by the number of programs that MMM Training Solutions conducts in Interviewing Skills Training for Managers, we can say that the efficacy is desired by corporates. The training focuses on writing relevant Job Descriptions, developing the skills needed to prepare for the interview and asking powerful questions to gain a deeper understanding of the skills and potential in the candidate
Managing a heterogeneous group in a training program is usually a challenge. But the complexity of the challenge proliferates manifold in corporate outbound training programs if frontline executives have to share space with their super-boss for team activities. Though I have come across few super-bosses who take this opportunity to empower subordinates with great long-term benefits during outbound training workshops programs, most of the super-bosses have left adverse effects on the team morale.
Unfortunately for the executives, the presence of the super-boss constraints their creativity, restricts communication and sets the tone for a low energy session. The Super-boss on the other hand, with the pressures of having to compete with subordinates become vociferous with his/her ideas and thrusts them on to the team.
I had to come down very hard on a Super –boss recently while doing an out bound training program for an automobile giant. This was a one-day out bound program for a heterogeneous group of 72 employees. Right at the start of the program the group was divided into 6 teams to compete against each other over 8 different activities. The team that garnered the highest points stood to win a gift hamper. Barring few members the rest of the group were super-excited. After completing 4 activities the scores were pretty even except for the team that had the super-boss. In the points standing they were way behind the fifth placed team.
My co-facilitators noticed that in each of the activity that preceded, the super-boss found his way to get the team to implement his ideas. The team members, disappointed with the super-bosses’ lack of confidence in their ideas, went about the activities with very little fervour and conviction. The super–boss was getting frustrated with his team. He was so riled that he ended up making nasty statements about the team.
So, on the fifth activity I pulled out the super-boss from his team telling him that it was unfair for just one team to get the benefit of his brilliance and gave him the responsibility of overseeing all six teams to keep a check on adherence to rules of the activities that followed. As expected, relieved of tyranny the de-moralized team made a remarkably improved showing. In fact they won 3 of the 4 activities that followed and managed to second place in the overall point standing at the end of the last activity.
During the final de-brief, realizing the folly of not listening to other’s ideas, the super-boss made a memorable 2-minute speech, talking about the importance of team communication and trust. His speech did not get a standing ovation but left the participants pondering. And I must admit I can never be hundred percent sure if all of the 72 employees took away relevant outbound learning from the outbound training but the super-boss sure did!