Strengthen Your Interviewing Skills with Carol Quinn at SHRM18

 

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer June 7, 2018
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​Hiring expert and popular speaker Carol Quinn intends to sculpt and tone your interviewing skills at her "Interviewer Boot Camp Sessions" at the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2018 Annual Conference & Exposition in Chicago.

Quinn is the CEO of Hire Authority, a hiring consultancy in Delray Beach, Fla. She also has been a disruptor in the employment interview space for over 20 years and is the author of Motivation-Based Interviewing: A Revolutionary Approach to Hiring the Best (SHRM, 2018), debuting at the conference. Quinn's sessions take place June 19 from 2:15 to 3:30 p.m. and June 20 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. 

She discussed her sessions with SHRM Online, as well as the problems with behavior-based interviews and how to improve traditional interview questions to help hiring managers select the best talent.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]  

SHRM Online: What do you have planned for your interviewer boot camps?

Quinn: Whether you're brand new to interviewing and want to learn something about it or you've been interviewing for a couple of decades, there will be something to take away. It's not just for beginners. The sessions will be especially helpful for interviewers who have been interviewing for a while, but aren't happy with inconsistent hiring results.

I'll address what you're doing in the interview process that's not working, things you shouldn't be doing and why. I'll also provide you with more-effective interviewing techniques.

SHRM Online: What's wrong with the way most companies do behavior-based interviewing now?

Quinn: In a nutshell—it produces hit-and-miss hiring results. You can get great hires, average hires and bad hires with behavior-based interviewing. It's a process that doesn't allow you to consistently identify the best candidates. Great hires come off as great hires but marginal hires can also seem like great hires. You cannot assess a candidate's motivation accurately with behavior-based interview questions. Even low performers have an example prepared of a time they demonstrated motivation, took initiative or completed a task. Which means you cannot correctly distinguish between the high, average and low performer. They all have examples of successes.

Many companies rely on skill assessments to back up behavior-based interviewing. But skill assessments are not an indicator of the best hires. The person may have the perfect skills, matching the job description exactly, but that doesn't mean he or she will be a great hire or a high performer. Great skills can produce a hire anywhere on the performance spectrum. It takes more than just skill to succeed. Don't take skill out of your decision-making process, but add in better predictors of future performance and success. 

SHRM Online: What's a better method for gathering critical information from job candidates?

Quinn: We don't want to make the interviewing process any longer, or more complicated. There are simple and effective techniques for knowing what information you need to gather to accurately predict future performance, what questions you need to ask to gather it, and how to assess responses.

The information-gathering process during interviews is probably the most critical process in hiring. If you ask ineffective interview questions, it will negatively affect the information you receive. Probably the most common problem with behavior-based questions is that they aren't structured to gauge the incremental differences between high- and low-performing candidates. Why do high performers go above and beyond and low performers stop at average? All levels of performer can produce great results when the task is easy. When something starts to get difficult, that's when people start to drop off in performance. High performers produce results even when it seems impossible to others. They go into problem-solving mode and they're tenacious.

One way to improve interview questions is to place an obstacle in the questions. Instead of asking "Tell me about a time you went above and beyond to please a customer,"' or achieved some goal or met a deadline, take out the happy ending. Instead ask "Tell me about a time you dealt with an irate customer" and leave the outcome open. This is a motivation-based interviewing question. These questions close the holes that exist in the behavior-based interviewing process.

How a high performer responds to difficulty—what their responses sound like—is going to be very different from what a low performer's responses sound like. You'll hear many candidates blame customers or company policy or whatever to excuse their behavior in the face of an obstacle.

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