Ditch the List

I was recently with an old friend and fellow entrepreneur talking about the trials and tribulations of starting a business. Hearing him lament about having regular turnover in a few key roles, I finally asked what his interview process was like.

“Oh, it’s amazing, let me send you these questions I have been using.” A great interview process that leads to turnover? I must be missing something…

The next day he followed up, sending me a pop-management link of the Top Interview Questions to Drive Performance.

Why are we so fixated on lists? 10 Best Restaurants for Date Nights, 7 Rules for Keeping a Pristine Lawn, 60 Places to Visit Before You Die. Websites like Buzzfeed and Business Insider prey on this fascination and pump out 20 more each day.

But what if you don’t like Italian food and the majority of the list are classic red sauce restaurants? How helpful are these lists if they don’t apply directly to you?

Using the MIP philosophy, let’s explore how you can think about developing interview questions to meet YOUR needs.

Look In the Past

Think about people who have been successful in the role before. What do they do differently than everybody else? Here, think about WHAT somebody was doing. Make sure to document all of the aspects of the job that are most important and highlight these in the job description. By providing a realistic job preview of what leads to success in a role, you will reduce ambiguity and leave your candidates with a clear expectation of what they are signing up for.

Look Around You Now

Next, it is important to put the culture into consideration. Why have good performers at your competitors failed when they joined your team? Here, think about HOW somebody works within your organization. Things like how decisions get made, the amount of autonomy people have, and what collaboration looks like are key indicators. Key behaviors and competencies will identify not only if the person has the technical skills you need, but if they are able to perform within your environment.

Look to the Future

Finally, an interview process is not effective if you are not thinking about future growth. If the goals set in the strategic plan are met, what will your organization look like? Here, think about WHEN the current state will no longer be sustainable. This is a good time to think about how your industry or competitors might change the market. What does your talent need to do in order to change with the tide? A selection process is not effective if six months later, it is obsolete.

Once you have the key questions answered, sit back and look at the data to identify what good looks like. Clarify the non-negotiables from the “nice to haves”. Ask good behavioral questions to tease out the role, environment, and future that will lead your team to success. Tailor the process to what you need and not what you read on a list. Always remember, bespoke is best.