Wayne Brophy

Jul 18, 2019

Conducting an interview? Do these 3 shrewd things now


Be honest. When conducting an interview have you ever secretly wondered whether the candidate who could eventually steal your job is a little too good? It’s only human nature, after all. However, it’s also one of the worst things you can do for your career. Read on for three reasons why you should always hire someone who’s better than you - and two other effective interviewing strategies.

Conducting an interview: 3 reasons to put your ego aside

We could talk about the importance of attracting the best talent due to the increasing skills gap. However, as Madan Pillutla Ph.D. a professor of organisational behaviour at London Business School, states: “Even if people are well-meaning and well-intentioned, it’s very difficult to act against your own self-interest by hiring someone who could outperform you.”

However, here’s why it pays to put this aside, for your own career:

They make you look smarter and make it easier for you to climb the ladder “Brilliant employees make you look like the confident, talent-aware manager you are. Hiring smart people builds bench strength in your organization that will make it easier for you to step up to a bigger job, knowing that one or two people are standing by ready to step into your role.” Liz Ryan, Forbes “Finding people better than you to do the things you’re not good at..frees you up to do the things you are good at.” Richard Branson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVPBf7b9Qbs They will challenge your perspectives “[Amazon founder, Jeff Bezo] observed that the smartest people are constantly revising their understanding, reconsidering a problem they thought they’d already solved. They’re open to new points of view, new information, new ideas, contradictions, and challenges to their own way of thinking.” Jason Fried, Basecamp founder During the interview, ask yourself: Is this person much better than you in one area? Did they bring any fresh perspectives or teach you something during the interview process?

Remember “The Waiter Rule”

“It's hard to get a dozen CEOs to agree about anything, but all interviewed agree with the Waiter Rule…. How others treat the CEO says nothing, they say. But how others treat the waiter is like a magical window into the soul." In the dating game, they always recommend how your date treats the waiting staff as it reveals a lot more about their character than how they treat you. It’s the same for interviews and something almost every CEO will agree with. If you have the luxury of meeting a candidate in a casual setting such as a cafe (or pub), use this to your advantage. If your interview is being held at the office, try to observe them before you meet and always ask the concierge/receptionist your assistant and your team what they observed. 

Ignore your gut on this one issue

Hiring for cultural fit is important but there’s a key difference between hiring someone just like you and someone who adds to the culture, bringing a diverse set of ideas and perspectives. Diverse teams perform better financially, yet  77% of hiring managers decide on culture fit by gut feeling alone. It’s important you come armed with the right questions and leave any biases at the door. Easier said than done. It can be difficult to put your natural instincts to one side when interviewing and be shrewd in your judgments. After all, most line managers don’t interview that regularly. But it’s an important skill to master if you want to cultivate a team you’re proud to have hired. If you want to hire candidates that will add to your culture (and business growth in the process), then check out our webinar: Expert advice on interviewing candidates for cultural fit. 

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