Interviewing skills from Magellanic Solutions

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This document will provide you with the basic information on what is an interview and how are you supposed to prepared your self for that. While doing this, through this document I will show you what is pre interview preparation, how are candidates shortlisted for the interview, what kind of questions are asked and the best way to answer them.
Our motive is to make you capable of clearing the interview in the simplest possible way so that you may achieve the ultimate goals of your career.

Best Regards
Darshan Raikar
General Manager
Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.

Published in: Career, Technology, Business
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Interviewing skills from Magellanic Solutions

  1. 1. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Conducting an InterviewBy: Darshan Raikar4/3/2013
  2. 2. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...2 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nContentsIntroduction ............................................................................................................................................3Pre Interview Preparation.......................................................................................................................3Shortlisting Candidates ...........................................................................................................................3Steps to be followed: ..............................................................................................................................3Employment Regulations........................................................................................................................4Pre Judgment ..........................................................................................................................................4Behavioral Questions..............................................................................................................................5The Curveball ..........................................................................................................................................5Maintaining Consistency.........................................................................................................................5Seven Golden Interview Questions.........................................................................................................5Conclusion...............................................................................................................................................8Appendix 1 ..............................................................................................................................................9
  3. 3. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...3 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nConducting an InterviewIntroductionRecruiting good employees is the foundation of any successful business. But selecting the right onesis difficult, and the interview process is often the most important step in the process. We will discusshow to figure out if the candidate sitting across from you is likely to become your next Employee ofthe Month.When it comes to job interview questions there are no magic bullets, however the structuringinterview questions is very important: It is the interviewers job to create an efficient framework fordiscussion and prevent it from running off the track. Needs of companies are different, but a goodbasic strategy is to ground the interview in questions about past job performance. Then throw in somesituational questions to evaluate practical decision making, and learn a little bit about how the job fitsin with a candidates biography.Pre Interview PreparationBefore an interview, each interviewer should have done a decent study on the person theyre about tomeet face to face. At the end, become familiar and acquainted enough with his or her resume, coverletter, or other submitted materials so you dont waste the first half of the interview re-learning basicbiographical information. Make sure you have the information you need to get a sense of what eachcandidate is all about and what they might bring to the position—before you conduct the actualinterview.Shortlisting CandidatesThis is a very important part of the recruitment process. Although it can be time-consuming it isworth conducting it with care and consideration. You don’t want to miss an excellent candidate orwaste your time with someone who doesn’t meet your requirements. It is possible that you will onlyreceive a small number of applications for a job, but the same process should take place regardless ofthe number of applications you receive.(Refer Appendix. 1)Steps to be followed: Use the job description and person specifications you also need to list all the requirements ofthe job on a short-listing grid. It may be helpful to use headings. You should have twosections – one for ‘essential’ criteria and one for ‘desirable’ criteria. Design a points or rating system to score candidates against the criteria. For example:3=exceeds criteria, 2=meets criteria, 1=partly meets criteria, 0=fails to meet criteria. Youcould add more ratings if you wish. Using a separate grid for each candidate, go through the application forms and score themagainst the requirements. It is best practice to have more than one person carry out thisprocedure, so each person should complete the grid for every candidate; you can then allcome together at the end and compare results.
  4. 4. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...4 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i n Once scoring is complete you can immediately discard any applicants that score a ‘0’ on oneor more of the ‘essential’ criteria. You can then rank those remaining candidates in priority order, highest score first. If you stillhave a large number of candidates you may want to consider the scoring of the ‘desirable’criteria. You have then arrived at your list of candidates to invite for interview – you should avoidinterviewing more than six people for any one job. If you only have one job to fill,interviewing more than 6 people isn’t likely to improve your chances of finding someonesuitable.Employment RegulationsThe interview process is subject to numerous employment laws designed to protect applicants privacyand ensure them a fair shot in the selection process. Employers cannot ask questions about religion,national origin, age, height, weight, marital status, disability, or gender unless they represent genuinequalifications essential to the operation of the business. (For example: a church can ask potentialministers about their religious background; a contracting firm can ask if candidates are physically ableto perform certain tasks.)No one should be required to provide personal information, and some in the employment fieldrecommend keeping the interview process tied strictly to job relevance. If asking about off-hourspursuits, say so in an open-ended way, such as, "Were seeking well-rounded, passionate people. Isthat how youd characterize yourself?"Pre JudgmentIts human nature to base your opinion about a candidate on the gut feeling you develop during thefirst few minutes of the interview. To some extent, that tendency can be harnessed as a kind ofintrinsic sixth sense. But have faith in the process as a whole. Many of the best employees might notmake a great first impression, but their talent reveals itself more and more over time."When Ive done training for interviewing, Ive noticed that people fantasize about the concept ofhaving a buzzer under the desk that you could push to say, No thank you," says industrialpsychologist Charles Handler of Rocket-Hire.com, a firm that advises companies on their hiringprocesses. "But you need to think, before you hit that imaginary buzzer, why do you want to hit it? Youhave to suspend judgment and think about collecting data that will help you make a good decision inthe end."Handler further added that in most cases, people want to hire people who are like them. "The keytowards avoiding this is reducing subjectivity and making the process more job related," he says.Remember: you want to create a team with a true diversity of personalities, perspectives, and talents.Thats crucial to keep in mind when biographical details related to hobbies, cultural tastes, and otheroutside pursuits come up. If youre too easily swayed by your shared passion for Harry Potter books orold David Bowie albums, youre not going to focus properly on concrete, practical information aboutaptitude and suitability.
  5. 5. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...5 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nBehavioral QuestionsBehavioral questions require candidates to give examples from their past experience and describe howthey used specific skills that are relevant to the job. Theyre a great opportunity for candidates todemonstrate leadership or other desirable kinds of performance. An applicant may make statementslike, "I deliver great customer service," but thats meaningless unless they can provide a concreteexample showing how they walked the talk.A good interviewer should be able to sift through the information a candidate provides to see what itreally says about experience and ability. For example, anecdotes should show balance in a candidatessense of his own importance. "A candidate should not try to take all the credit for work done in ateam," says Brant Williams, recruiting coordinator for Adidas America. "Instead, you want them toclearly identify what their role was and how they contributed to the team outcome." Dissecting themeaning of whats said will require close attention, so write down any responses that give you pause,as well as the good ones.The CurveballAlthough the majority of the interview should be practical, throwing a more abstract question with noright or wrong answer into the mix can shed light on a candidates reasoning power, outlook, andcomfort in negotiating ambiguity. Asked why the sky is blue, a strong candidate might pontificateabout the science of climate and atmosphere or its more conceptual impact on people, culture, and art."You want people who think differently from each other," says Scott Pitasky, general manager ofrecruiting for Microsoft. "Otherwise youll end up with a group of very talented people who alwayscome up with the same answer as each other." Such questions can also be a measure of attitude. If acandidate rolls her eyes and shrugs, she may balk at more important tasks, as well.Maintaining ConsistencyPhilosophies about hiring come and go: experience versus raw talent, leaders versus team-players,personality tests and problem-solving scenarios versus traditional resumes and interviews. As with astock portfolio, your best bet is to diversify. But once youve arrived at a set of questions to ask andqualities to look for, stick to your game plan. Using the same list of questions for all candidates helpscreate a structure for managing all the information provided in their responses. Just like on an episodeof Iron Chef or Dance Fever, members of the interview team can then score candidates on eachanswer. Of course the job doesnt automatically have to be awarded to the highest scorer, but beingable to compare parallel responses is a revealing measurement tool.Seven Golden Interview QuestionsQuestion 1: "What do you think about Dhonis performance yesterday?"Purpose: Develop the rapport needed to get the interview off the ground.Every interview should begin with an icebreaker. It helps nervous applicants calm down and builds asense of trust. If you have a 45-minute interview, you should spend at least the first five minutestrying to connect on a neutral topic. Make the person feel at ease and youll solicit betterinformation—and much more honest responses.Alternate Version 1: "Did you go to the industry conference last week?"
  6. 6. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...6 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nAlternate Version 2: "Were you affected by the heat wave?"Alternate Version 3: "How was your journey?"Question 2: "Tell me about a time when you had to overcome major obstacles."Purpose: Get a clear picture of the candidates past performance.Variations on this question should actually comprise your next several questions. Do not hesitate toguide the candidate through the variety of tasks (both tangible and theoretical) necessary to performthe job, and listen carefully to how he or she has handled such challenges. Pay attention to intangibles& remember, some people are better at performing in interviews than on the job. If your candidatecontinually plays the role of hero or victim, thats a red flag that you are probably not getting thewhole story.Alternate Version 1: "Tell me about a time when you wrote a report that was well received. Why doyou think it was successful?"Alternate Version 2: "Tell me about the time when you took a wrong decision."Alternate Version 3: "If you had to do that activity again, how would you do it differently?"Question 3: "What interests you about this position?"Purpose: Find out how the candidate feels about the job and the company.People apply for jobs for plenty reasons besides the obvious ones. Asking a candidate why he or shewants the position gives insight into their motivation. The answers you may receive could be personal(such as a narrative about what spurred them to seek a new job), or it may connect the candidate to thecompany: her experience with the brand, the mission statement, or the organizations role in thecommunity. Any of these answers (or some combination) are acceptable — a personal answer cancommunicate trust, and a connection to the business indicates loyalty and a sense of ownership.Alternate Version 1: "Where does this job fit into your career path?"Alternate Version 2: "If you had to convince a friend or colleague to apply for this job, what mightyou tell them?"Alternate Version 3: "What motivated you to apply for this job?"Question 4: "Is there intelligent life in outer space?"Purpose: Find out what kind of thinker the candidate is and how he deals with surprises.This is your curveball, designed to make the candidate put his own thoughts instead of just reciting towell-rehearsed answers. How much will he or she play along? As long as its not too short or too long,
  7. 7. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...7 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nvirtually any response is a good one. But pay attention to attitude, the way the candidate approachesthe problem, and the ease or difficulty they have in coming up with a response.Alternate Version 1: "How many stars are there in the sky?"Alternate Version 2: "How do they get the cream filling inside a Twinkie?"Alternate Version 3: "Why do people climb mountains?"Question 5: "Imagine weve just hired you. Whats the most important thing on your to-do list on thefirst day of work?"Purpose: Learn about the candidates judgment and decision-making skills.This is an example of a situational question, which is like a behavioral question in that its designed toassess judgment, but its also like a curveball question because it illuminates the candidates thoughtprocess. You want to see whether he demonstrates the competencies and priorities that are importantto the job.Alternate Version 1: "Say a coworker tells you that he submitted phony expense account receipts. Doyou tell your boss?"Alternate Version 2: "How would you handle an employee whose performance is fine but who youknow has the potential to do better?"Alternate Version 3: "What would you do if you got behind schedule with your part of a project?"Question 6: "Why did you get into this line of work?"Purpose: Measure the fit between the candidates values and the culture of your company.It risks a long, drawn-out answer, but this type of question will help you select candidates that fit yourcompanys culture. Its not about finding people like you, or people with similar backgrounds that ledthem to your company, but about getting a sense of their values and motivations. Concepts like valuesand culture can be subjective and difficult to define, but you should be looking for someone whosework ethic, motivations, and methods match the companys. This isnt a quantitative measurement somuch as a qualitative one. Coke and Pepsi may seem the same to people outside the soft-drinkindustry, but each houses people with different approaches to making cola and running a business.Alternate Version 1: "What do you like best about your current job?"Alternate Version 2: "When did you realize this would be your career?"Alternate Version 3: "What keeps you coming to work besides the paycheck?"Question 7: "But enough about you. What about us (or the employers)?"Purpose: Find out if the candidate has done his or her homework.
  8. 8. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...8 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nIts a cliché to end an interview with the standard, So, any questions? But the fact remains that youreally do want to let the candidate ask a few things of you. Reversing roles communicates that thecompany seeks an open a dialogue, and it helps you ascertain just how curious and knowledgeable acandidate is about your company. If he doesnt ask any questions about the job or the business, its asafe bet his heart isnt in it. Listen for insightful questions that demonstrate a sophisticatedunderstanding of the circumstances of the job, the company, the competitive landscape, or theindustry.Alternate Version 1: "Where do you think the company should be in ten years?"Alternate Version 2: "Whats your opinion of our new product?"Alternate Version 3: "Have you seen the companys new ad campaign?"ConclusionThe main criteria for successful short listing is identifying which essential and desirable qualitiesmatter most to you or the relevant job. The criteria that you look for depends on the nature of the jobbut its important to define exactly what you really want from your ideal candidate before you start theshort listing process. Before you start, you need to have two lists, the absolutely essential criteria andthe desirable criteria. Try to avoid the temptation to put all your desirable criteria in the essentialcategories; you should have approximately double the essential criteria in your list of desirables. Tryto be flexible and remember that if you take too many people out initially you may miss the bestcandidate for the role.
  9. 9. Magellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Efficiency at its Best...9 | P a g ew w w . m a g e l l a n i c s o l u t i o n s . i nAppendix 1Shortlisting Pro Forma SampleMagellanic Solutions Pvt. Ltd.Job Title: ` Marketing Manager (Pharmaceuticals)Candidates Name: Darshan RaikarInterviewed By: Rohit Jadhav0 = Fails to Meet, 1 = Partly Meets, 2 = Meets, 3 = ExceedsCriteria’s Candidate 1 Candidate 2 Candidate 3EssentialCriteria’sTotal ExperienceMarketing ExperiencePharmaceutical MarketingExperienceMinimum QualificationMarketing KnowledgeCommunication SkillsConvincing SkillsDesired Criteria’s Experience in Leading a teamPeople Management SkillsNegotiation SkillsHard WorkerGood UnderstandingMarket AwarenessTotal ScoreInterview? Yes/No Yes/No Yes/NoRetail on File? Yes/No Yes/No Yes/No

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