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How to uncover a person's potential value when conducting a job interview

Ruedi Sandmeier
Feb 28, 2006

When looking to hire someone, after combing through resumes and culling the most promising, your next step is often a short phone conversation and then an in-person interview. The typical interview lasts 1 to 1.5 hours, and should generally be conducted one-on-one. You should strive to get at information not covered in the resume or a cover letter. This may include asking for a description of the last three positions held by the candidate (the nature of the organization, job duties, and reporting relationships), or other points to clarify, such as, "Why did you work only nine months at XYZ Biotech?"

You should also ask about key achievements, which are often predictors of success in a new job. Here, it is important to prompt candidates to tell you what they do, how they do it, and what results they have achieved. This is important because titles tell you very little....