Questions to Hire By

I don’t like interviews. Not behavioral. Not situational. Not case. Not stress. Yes, stress interviews are a thing in certain circles. I’m familiar with a host of others, including Rorschach tests, but the question is… how useful are they? By this I mean, how well do they predict a person’s ability to excel in the job?


More often than not the interview process is plagued by inaccurate job descriptions, a whole bouquet of biases, and affected by mood, sleep patterns, state of hunger and past encounters.  As if this weren’t bad enough, the pace of change in organizations ensures that whatever “requirements” were put in place for the original, and often protracted, interview process, will surely be blown to bits by month 4 of employment.


Wait, but that’s not all. When hiring into leadership positions the game is different. You find yourself sitting across from self-assured, articulate (I hope) candidate, who won’t easily show her hand, and has much more experience managing people than you do. You’ve got your questions and your poker face, but these folks can, and often do, “manage” the interview and interviewer quite handily. Trust me, the guy sitting there in an over-pressed shirt, gold cufflinks and shiny shoes will not give you any indication that he’s gonna curl up into a ball or throw a raging tantrum every time the shit hits the fan.


So how do we produce an accurate read on the candidate, her fit for the job, his fit in the culture, and the likelihood of their long-term success? Well, it helps to know exactly what you’re looking for and have a way to cut through the smoke and mirrors.


For this, I  recommend two steps:

I. Get Clear on What’s Important &

II. Deepen the Questions


Here’s a “Deep Interview” Tool Kit for a leadership role where "keeping the ball moving in a volatile work environment" was a top priority.


The first step is clarity: What’s Important?


For that let's go to my Leadership Characteristics in a VUCA world.


2 Types of Leadership Characteristics: Technical (T1) and Temperament (T2)


Type 1 Characteristics - "Technical" measure depth of analytical, technical, complexity and judgement capabilities, and


Type 2 Characteristics - "Temperament" measure the depth of human and leadership capabilities, and behavioral and temperamental maturity of the candidate. However, all are inter-connected and influence one another.