Do you remember your first interview–that eager candidate anxious to talk up their qualifications? Throughout our careers many of us have, without a doubt, interviewed and hired hundreds of people. We all know how the game is played, so here are some tactics I have found helpful when trying to decide whom to hire.
In an office setting everyone is on their best behavior. I believe it’s outside the office where you can learn what a candidate is really like. That’s why I never hire someone without having a meal with them first.
Wondering how a candidate will manage a team? Pay close attention to how they interact with the wait staff. Curious about a candidate’s ability to communicate? Listen to how they order. Questioning how a candidate will conduct themselves in various situations? Observe their table manners.
It may have been the candidate who took 15 minutes to tell the waiter how he wanted his highly personalized meal prepared. It may have been the candidate who kept looking around the room of a popular restaurant to see who she recognized or knew. Based on these experiences and countless others, I have changed my mind about candidates after having shared a meal with them.
Another thing I like to do is ask each candidate, “If I called three people who have worked for you, how would they describe you?”
While it may sound simple, candidates usually tell me at least one negative story along with two good ones. It’s almost as if they are afraid you’re actually going to do it. In the end, you get more information and a better sense about the candidate than you might have otherwise.
Hiring the right people for the right positions is an important role of corporate leaders. I highly recommend that people have their own consistent, personal style of interviewing and hiring to ensure they are doing all they can to attract the right people to their organizations.