Interviewer & interviewee skills the Solution Focus way

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John Briggs & Gale Miller of the Solutions Behavioural Health Group Milwaukee did some research on the interview process. The goal of this document is to reframe the traditional interview ‘contest’. It suggests ways that avoid the surprises that can arise later and instead help both parties get what they want.

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Interviewer & interviewee skills the Solution Focus way

  1. 1. Interview  Skills  using  Solution  Focus www.alankay.ca             INTERVIEWER  AND  INTERVIEWEE  SKILLS     USING  SOLUTION  FOCUS  (SF)     John  Briggs  &  Gale  Miller  of  the  Solutions  Behavioural  Health  Group  Milwaukee  did  some  research  on  the   interview  process.  Their  findings  are  on  page  1  (drawn  from  one  of  Gale’s  presentations).     Page  2  offers  advice  on  how  to  re-­‐frame  the  interview  process  from  the  interviewers  perspective.     Page  3  was  developed  by  some  solution  focus  advocates  in  Toronto  to  illustrate  how  interviewees  might   frame  the  interview.   The  goal  of  this  thinking  is  to  reframe  the  traditional  interview  ‘contest’.  It  suggests  ways  that  avoid  the   surprises  that  can  arise  later  and  instead  help  both  parties  get  what  they  want.       INTERVIEWING  JOB  APPLICANTS  USING  SOLUTION  FOCUS     BACKGROUND:     Think  in  terms  of  ‘emergence’.  Hiring  creates  a  change.  Plus,  you  can’t  ever  replace  or  replicate  the  current   situation.  Choosing  a  person  creates  a  new  situation.  Different  kinds  of  people  will  create  different  situation   /  direction.  So,  should  we  choose  a  person,  or  a  future  situation  based  on  the  future  we  (and  they)  want?     The  traditional  pre-­‐employment  interview  is  unreliable  in  terms  of  deselecting  bad  employees  and  selecting   good  employees.       COMMON  PROBLEMS     Too  much  focus  on  the  organization  or  the  candidate:    Organization  –  we  have  a  square  hole,  are  you  a  square  peg?    Candidate  –  what  kind  of  peg  are  you?  Can  we  reshape  our  hole  or  your  peg?       Conducting  the  interview  to  confirm  biases:    ‘After  reviewing  your  application,  you  appear  to  be  the  best  candidate.  Please  tell  me  we  are  right.’     Focusing  on  the  candidates  needs;    ‘We  are  really  in  love  with  you.  What  do  you  need  from  us  to  be  happy?’     Skill  focused  interviewing  (check  lists):    ‘Can  you  perform  skill/requirement  A?  What  about  B?’     Predictable  questions  with  predictable  answers;    ‘What  are  your  greatest  strengths?’  (‘Dependable,  hard  worker’)    ‘What  are  your  greatest  liabilities?’  (‘Don’t  really  have  any.  Perhaps  I  am  a  perfectionist’)     Don’t  eliminate  these  questions.  Instead,  be  aware  of  the  assumptions  behind  them.  Be  more  mindful  of  the   responses.     REMEDY     ‘Let’s  work  together  and  have  a  conversation  about  constructing  a  peg  and  a  hole  that  fit  well  together  and   provide  great  functionality.’   Over…  
  2. 2. Interview  Skills  using  Solution  Focus www.alankay.ca                   INTERVIEWER  QUESTIONS:       Solution  Focus  questions:     • What  was  your  goal  in  applying  for  this  position?   • What  is  your  best  understanding  of  this  position?   • What  makes  you  think  you  would  be  a  good  candidate  for  the  position?   • Suppose  you  were  in  my  shoes.  What  would  be  your  primary  concerns  as  you  conducted  this   search?   • Which  goals  of  the  organization  do  you  think  you  can  best  help  us  achieve?   • Scaling:  On  a  scale  of  1  –  10…where  would  you  put  yourself?  How  come?  What  would  be   different  if  you  were  a  point  higher?  How  is  it  that  you  are  not  a  point  lower?   • Suppose  you  were  hired  for  this  position.  How  would  I  know  you  were  a  good  choice?   • Suppose  you  accepted  an  offer  from  us.  How  would  you  know  you  made  a  good  choice?   • How  will  our  organization  benefit  from  hiring  you?   • What  else?     Language  (auditory  and  visual)  is  our  only  tool  in  an  interview:      Listen  and  observe  carefully  and  accurately    Seek  clarification,  ‘When  you  say……..,  what  specifically  do  you  mean?    Do  not  assume  very  much.  This  is  what  leads  to  surprises  down  the  road     Source:  John  Briggs  &  Gale  Miller,  Solutions  Behavioural  Health  Group  Milwaukee.       See  over…Questions  for  the  Interviewee  (managing  the  interview)           What  is  Solution  Focus?  (download)                  
  3. 3. Interview  Skills  using  Solution  Focus www.alankay.ca             INTERVIEWEE  QUESTIONS       Here  are  the  sort  of  questions  you  might  want  to  adapt/use  in  your  own  way…   This  set  of  questions  was  set  up  for  a  project  opportunity  –  if  necessary,  change  ‘project’  to  ‘job/function’.     SF  QUESTIONS  FOR  INTERVIEWEES   •  So  how  can  I  be  useful  to  you  during  this  interview  today?   •  If  you  had  the  perfect  person  and  suppose  it  were  the  end  of  the  contract,  how  would  things  be   different?   •  How  will  this  person  have  helped  this  organization,  this  department  and  you  to  succeed?   •  Suppose  you  hired  me,  how  will  I  have  helped  you  achieve  great  things?   •  At  the  end  of  the  project,  how  will  I  have  helped  you  personally?   •  If  you  were  in  my  shoes,  what  concerns  would  you  have  for  me?   •  What  can  you  imagine  are  the  most  positive  outcomes  for  this  role?   •  What  are  your  grounds  for  optimism  that  this  project  will  be  a  great  success  (with  the  right  person?)   •  What  has  been  going  well  for  you  lately?   •  What’s  working  on  this  project?   •  What  works,  what  would  you  want  done  differently?   •  When  you  did  something  like  this  before,  what  happened?   •  When  you’ve  hired  people  in  the  past,  what  worked?   •  What  three  wishes  do  you  have  for  this  project?   •  Let  me  tell  you  a  story  where  it  didn’t  work  and  how  I  fixed  it   •  Suppose  that  when  I  came  in  on  the  project  it  was  a  3,  when  I  left  it  was  a  9...  what  would  I  have  done   to  make  it  work?   Overall,  find  out  what  the  organization  is  really  looking  for,  then  pitch  yourself  to  them:  if  you  hired  me,  this   is  how  you  would  benefit...   Never  need  the  job!  Check  against  your  own  vision  and  standards,  and  step  back  from  the  project  to  see  if   you  want  to  be  involved  with  it.   In  order  to  minimize  problems  during  the  work  ask  many  questions  about  what  the  interviewer’s  request   really  means.  

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