Walking past an office window this morning, I saw what looked like 2 people interviewing another around a rectangular boardroom type table. The 2 interviewers were on one side on the table and the interviewee was on the other. Both interviewers were both furiously flicking trough CVs and notes, scribbling furiously and rarely looking up from the paper while the poor subject was talking non-stop and looking more than a little nervous.

Now I may be making a lot of assumptions here but it looked to me like there wasn’t any sort of real connection or even discussion between the interviewee and the interviewers and that the interviewers were either very badly prepared, disorganised or following such a strict structure or set of pre-defined questions that they weren’t able to build that relationship.

You need structure and you need to achieve a lot when interviewing. This may be the only chance to see if this person is likely to fit into your organisation and into a particular role but you need to actually build the interview and in turn the relationship to get the most out of all of you and to properly assess suitability. I would argue that being so attached to your structure will lead to you missing clues and signs along the way and you run the risk of missing out on peoples real drivers and motivations and the real reasons why they have taken certain decisions in their careers.

Surely a much better course of action would be for all parties to be well prepared in terms of the background of the candidate and of the company and of course the job on offer. This material should be studied and all parties should become so familiar with this information that they are able to lay their notes aside in the interview and really focus on the person and on the questions they ask, the answers they give as well as all the non-verbal signals they are giving off. They should structure various questions based on this research which will help them gain as much as possible from the interview and lead to as full a picture as possible. The questions not asked can be revisited at the end if appropriate, once the discussion has run its course.

Also – it’s not us and them. If there are multiple interviewers then surely everyone should be involved in the interview and should all interact with each other rather than 2 people sitting closely together facing the candidate firing questions at them.

Just a thought…….

A man and a woman shaking hands over coffee at a coffee shop