Biggest Secret to Interviewing

by Howard Shore, Date: May 12, 2011

Biggest Secret to Interviewing

There has been much written on interviewing and selecting talent. As I speak with clients, even those who use some of the best interviewing techniques, the main point is being missed. The key to finding the ideal person for each position is to define “Talent.” The people tasked with filling a position need to ask themselves, “What are the talents that are necessary to perform this job very well?”  This is the key question.

Often when looking to fill a job, the things that interviewers are looking for are:

  • Education
  • Experience in the role
  • Experience in the industry
  • Personality
  • Aptitude

While we need to consider these things for many roles, if the applicant lacks the core talents specific to the position, he/she can possess all of the above and still not perform the way you want. For example, I want someone to be the head of strategic planning for my large company.

Some key talents to do this job well are as follows:

  • Identify the questions that most others do not think to ask.
  • Find patterns in data that most others cannot see.
  • Persuade others who want to continue with the status quo to consider alternative possibilities.
  • Present information in a way that others can’t.
  • Ask very difficult questions of people who are their organizational superiors.
  • Have the self-confidence to go against the grain and not be “yes men.”

The applicants may have experience in the process of strategic planning, have worked in my industry, have great personalities, and be really smart. The problem is that my interviewers typically do not even identify the other key talents as necessary, let alone probe for and get a sense that they exist in the applicants. Ironically, if someone has more of the latter and is light on the former, they will outperform the people that have more of the former in their resume.

If I want to ensure getting the right person to fill the position, I have to make sure that I have communicated all of the key factors for the job to the people who do the interviewing.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies and people that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at .