Avoiding Hypothetical Answers in the Interview
Newsletter volume 1 number 2
One participant in our Effective Interviewing!® seminar stated that he asks candidates, "How would you contribute to your area in our organization." This results in a lot of hypothetical answers in the interview. The participant realized he was expecting the candidate to do all the thinking about what was needed on the job. This approach left him vulnerable to telegraphing exactly what he was looking for (the savvy candidate is only too willing to tell you what you want to hear).
With our approach, first you identify what needs to be done on the job (duties and responsibilities), what your corporate values are and what it's like to work here (organizational culture), and then what qualities are desired for a good fit between the candidate and the job. This summary of qualities is never given to the candidate. It is prepared ahead of the interview and only used internally by the hiring team. Then in the interview this is followed with questions that yield examples of past and present behavior which are then used to predict future behavior.
The hard work of making a prediction about future performance must be done by the interviewer, not the candidate. Why is it that some managers will spend more time studying a menu before they order a meal than they will spend identifying what is needed for a job before the interview?