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THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
The Bakers’ Dozen Steps to a
by Beth Sunshine, VP Talent Services
NEAR-PERFECT
EMPLOYMENT
IN...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
If I told you it would be a perfect interview, you would
have known better. Nothing in life ...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
It’s a near-perfect interview if:
• You get honest, reliable, useful answers.
• You learn if...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
You wouldn’t go shopping for the ingredients of an important
meal without planning the menu,...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
You’re probably going to interview more than one candidate.
So you need a system that allows...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
If you’re first reading the résumé while you’re interviewing the
candidate, you’re winging i...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
A job applicant who is ‘on edge’ will give guarded answers,
responses that are carefully cra...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Stage your questions by deciding which ones to ask earlier in
the interview, and which to sa...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Going deep into the candidate’s career experiences doesn’t
have to involve a shift away from...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
This is an other of those interviewer behaviors that marks you
as a pro, not an amateur.
Not...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Never forget that, while you are interviewing them, they are
also interviewing you.
Take eve...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Explain your selection process from beginning to end.
If there will be many interviews, a st...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
The last four of my bakers’ dozen steps happen after the
interview is over...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Immediately following the interview, flesh out your notes
while it is all still fresh in you...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
For each candidate your determine (based on that shopping
list!) to be a finalist, arrange f...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
You’re probably hiring just one person for one opening. What
of the others?
They will likely...
THE CENTER FOR
SALES STRATEGY
Telling some of those not selected that you’re going to stay in
touch for possible future op...
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Steps to a near perfect employment interview

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Steps to a near perfect employment interview

  1. 1. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY The Bakers’ Dozen Steps to a by Beth Sunshine, VP Talent Services NEAR-PERFECT EMPLOYMENT INTERVIEW
  2. 2. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY If I told you it would be a perfect interview, you would have known better. Nothing in life or business is perfect. But yes, we can get close to perfection...
  3. 3. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY It’s a near-perfect interview if: • You get honest, reliable, useful answers. • You learn if the candidate fits your needs and your style. • You leave the candidate eager for what will happen next.
  4. 4. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY You wouldn’t go shopping for the ingredients of an important meal without planning the menu, and this is no different. Write down the “must-haves” for this hire so you are sure to find the right person. Do you need someone that can grow relationships long-term? Is creativity a must-have in this position? Do you need someone who is “hungry” to hit the streets? Social-media savvy? Writing it down makes all the difference. Winging it is strictly for amateurs. 1 Make a Shopping List
  5. 5. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY You’re probably going to interview more than one candidate. So you need a system that allows you to compare apples to apples. Plan a core group of questions that you will ask all applicants and determine what answers you are looking for, or what the candidate’s answer must include for it to be a good answer. Plenty of job-seekers are great at selling themselves, but fail in the job. Smoke out these poseurs by asking competency- based or behavioral interview questions that allow you to understand how the candidate will likely behave in the job. 2 Plan the right kinds of questions
  6. 6. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY If you’re first reading the résumé while you’re interviewing the candidate, you’re winging it and wasting everyone’s time—and the candidate can tell. Your advance planning should include reviewing the résumé, highlighting areas you want to learn more about, and structuring questions that get the candidate talking about their prior performance. 3 Read the résumé as you plan
  7. 7. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY A job applicant who is ‘on edge’ will give guarded answers, responses that are carefully crafted to avoid making a mistake. You want the opposite—a totally comfortable candidate who opens up and lets her thoughts flow freely. So set the tone from the beginning by finding a comfortable place to talk that allows her to sit back and relax. Start with a warm welcome that puts her at ease. And keep it friendly by smiling and being open to all she has to say. 4 Put the candidate at ease
  8. 8. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Stage your questions by deciding which ones to ask earlier in the interview, and which to save for later. Begin with your easiest, most comfortable questions first, the ones you think the candidate will be most delighted to answer. As a rule, the more general questions should usually precede those that are more specific or those that call for stories or examples. 5 Start with a slow pitch down the middle
  9. 9. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Going deep into the candidate’s career experiences doesn’t have to involve a shift away from the warmth you showed early on. Asking strong, specific, multi-layer questions can be done in a friendly, curious, optimstic manner. you’re looking for success and performance, not trouble, so don’t make it sound that way. Probe deeper by saying Tell me more or asking I’d love to hear about a time when you did that. After hearing an example, explore the depth of their behavior by asking Can you give me another example of that? 6 Don’t be afraid to dig
  10. 10. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY This is an other of those interviewer behaviors that marks you as a pro, not an amateur. Not only is taking detailed notes of tremendous help when you must make those tough hiring decisions, but it also sends a clear message to the candidate that what he is saying is important to you. Make sure your notes are about what the candidate actualy said, not other observations or conclusions. Contract at the beginning of the interview, explaining that you’re entirely focused on capturing her responses so she should not be surprised that you will be writing quite a bit. 7 Take plenty of notes
  11. 11. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Never forget that, while you are interviewing them, they are also interviewing you. Take every opportunity to shine the spotlight on the best features of the job, on the environment for success, on the reputation the company has built with customers and prosects, and what it’s like to work with you as their manager and mentor. There is nothing worse than finally finding the right person, on ly to learn they are not as sold on the opportunity as you are. 8 Sell your company as an employer
  12. 12. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Explain your selection process from beginning to end. If there will be many interviews, a standardized assessment, or an assignment of some sort, let your candidates know. Share your timeline so candidates know how quickly they should expect things to move. Keep them apprised of their own status and progress. 9 Be transparent about your process
  13. 13. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY The last four of my bakers’ dozen steps happen after the interview is over...
  14. 14. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Immediately following the interview, flesh out your notes while it is all still fresh in your mind. If you wait to do rthis, the interviews all start to blend together in your brain. What was your overall impression? Will her personality fit? Did she arrive on time? Did she present herself well? Was she professionally dressed? Had she done her homework on the job and the company? Did she establish rapport quickly and easily? Did she ask about the next steps in the process? You likely saw her at his very best. Did you like her? Do you want to work with her every day? 10 Add more notes after the interview
  15. 15. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY For each candidate your determine (based on that shopping list!) to be a finalist, arrange for a standardized talent assessment. You learned a lot about each of these finalists, but to truly understand how each person is “wired,” and how their unique configuration of strengths and weaknesses will interact to produce on-the-job behavior, you need to order an unbiased evaluation of their job-specific talents, and then to have an in- depth conversation about each candidate with a professional Talent Analyst. 11 Order a talent assessment
  16. 16. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY You’re probably hiring just one person for one opening. What of the others? They will likely fall into two categories, those you’ve decided have no place in your organization, and those who you may wish to bring on board in the future. Make sure you respond to every one of them and let them know that someone else was selected. If you have no further interest, thank them nicely for applying. If you think you may want to hire them in the future, let them know of your continuing interest and that you’ll be in touch again. 12 Decision time
  17. 17. THE CENTER FOR SALES STRATEGY Telling some of those not selected that you’re going to stay in touch for possible future opportunities in your company was sincere, wasn’t it? I hope so, because keeping a strong talent bank will make the next selection much easier! You should maintain a formal talent bank. “Maintain” means you pay attention to that list of talented people and refer to it whenever you or a colleague has an opening. It also means staying in touch with each person, keeping up to date on their progress, and showing your ongoing interest. 13 Stock your talent bank!

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