Innovation Interviewing: New Game, New Rules

Updated: April 23, 2010

1- Shut up and listen: Every moment you speak is a moment your interviewee is silent. Unless you are interviewing someone who will be working for you as a mime, you aren't learning anything while you're talking.

2- Ask SPIN questions: Help your interviewee learn more about the position and company - while you're learning more about them - by asking value-centric questions. Try using what sales guru Neil Rackham, author of SPIN Selling and many other books on business communication, calls 'Implication' and 'Need-payoff' questions. "What if you got this position and could do anything within reason to make it a success?" "Here's a recurring problem (describe it); how many kinds of adverse impact on our business can you identify?" This gives the candidate an opportunity to 'dig in' and actually sell themselves on the job opportunity, while giving you a view into their thinking and problem solving processes.


3 - Stick to a plan: Remember that an interview is a form of assessment. If every interview follows a different path, they will not result in accurate or reasonable comparisons between candidates. Not only do you need to ask the same questions of each interviewee, you need to interpret their answers in the same way. Furthermore, if you don't isolate the key message points and stay focused on them, it is all the more likely that the candidate's physical characteristics, gender, race, nationality, style of dress, etc. will creep into the assessment-and before you know it you will be adrift in unconscious biases that can lead to future trouble.

4 - Pick a team player:
Consider using an assessment that is designed to measure teaming characteristics. Hiring has always been focused primarily on the characteristics of the individual candidates. Ironically, how well they will perform on the team doesn't come to the fore until after the hire - and isn't recognized as a failing until after the 'bad hire' has done plenty of damage. You can't really ask people how they 'team' and expect a reliable answer, so you need a way to predict how they will behave.

5 - Take the high road: Even when you're having a tough day, remember that you are making decisions of critical importance to your organization. You have direct influence on building and maintaining a human infrastructure that will determine the success or failure of the entire organization. Take a deep breath, ask for a second opinion if you're unsure, and always keep learning.

Featured Research
  • Eight Ways You Should Be Using Contact Center Reporting

    Every day, your contact center collects critical data that can be used to drive strategic improvements to your efforts in the future. But that data is meaningless if you don’t know how to access and analyze it. The key to do doing both is using reporting features. By understanding how to use reporting tools, you will gain much greater insight from the data you are collecting. more

  • Is Your Phone System Stealing Profits?

    Having the wrong phone system can dramatically cut into your profits. Despite this, many businesses just sign up for a plan or platform that seems ‘good enough’. If you haven’t carefully considered your options and the included features, there’s a very good chance that you are leaving money on the table in some way. more

  • Best Video Conferencing Features for Business

    Most businesses are currently underutilizing their video conferencing software because they aren’t aware of the different ways it can be used. Understanding the different features of video conferencing software can be critical to getting the most out of your investment. These features often vary from one option to the next as well, so it's important to do your homework before choosing a specific service. more

  • Phone System Technology Showdown

    VoIP and IP telephony are often misconstrued as being the same type of phone system, but the truth is they operate on different technology and deployment methods. This guide will explain the differences between VoIP and IP, go into the pros and cons of both VoIP and IP-PBX, and give insight into which type of phone system will benefit your business the most. more

  • 8 Ways the Cloud is Changing ERP for the Better

    What if there was a tool available that allowed for you to save up to a quarter of your operational costs? Studies have shown that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions enable businesses to access accurate, real-time information about daily operations which allow for the reduction of operational costs of up to 23% and administrative costs of up to 22%. more