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
  • Why Q4 is the Perfect Time to Invest in Video Conferencing

    If you’re currently relying on an outdated video conferencing solution - or if you don’t have one at all - you’re in luck. While any time is a good time to invest in video conferencing, Q4 may be the best. One big reason is that Q4 is when you can get the best deals, but there are also other important factors like increased access to seasonal employees. more

  • 8 Ways to Get More From Your VoIP System

    Many businesses adopt VoIP to take advantage of the cost savings without spending enough time reviewing the features and benefits made available by different solutions. If this is true for your business, there’s a good chance you could be getting more from your VoIP system in the form of even lower costs or improved employee productivity. You may even find that your current software offers features that you aren’t taking advantage of! more

  • Best ERP Features and Benefits for Your Business

    Are you considering investing in ERP software for the first time? Or maybe you already have an ERP solution but you’re worried it’s becoming dated. If either of the above apply to you, read our latest guide on the top ERP features and benefits based on the size of your business. You may be surprised at how versatile and cost-effective it is becoming - regardless of if you own a small business or run a large enterprise. more

  • 9 Spooky Signs You Need a Contact Center Upgrade

    When was the last time you evaluated the performance of your current contact center and the software you are using? The results may be frightening! If it’s been awhile since you invested in contact center software, there is a good chance that your needs have changed or that there are better options available now. Fortunately, it’s relatively easy to determine if you need an upgrade or not. more

  • 7 Ways the Wrong Phone System Can Haunt Your Business

    The wrong phone system could be haunting your business - and we’re talking about problems more serious than ghosts and ghouls. From increased costs to issues with scaling, we’ve identified seven important ways that a less than ideal phone system could be holding you back. You’ll be surprised at how much of a difference this can make to your bottom line too. more