Your secret weapon when it comes to hiring

Listen. It is the hardest thing to do in an interview. It really is. Almost as hard as showing up to work after a late night eating meat and watching fireworks. Happy Birthday, America. #4thofJuly

Recruiters and hiring managers pay thousands of dollars to training firm to become the best interviewers or buy pricey technology that is supposed to predict a candidate’s success or think they are clever by asking them who their spirit animal is. None of this matters, if you do not listen.

Always assume the candidate knows something you don’t.

Interviewers: You want to tell your story about your company, life, and career. Tell it but then shut-up. A good candidate has already researched you and the company. Let the candidate tell their story.

Things you will hear from the candidate. You will hear about their problems, what they know or do not know. A conversation with a candidate that is worthwhile is part messy and part clean.

It’s messy in that you are unsure about the person you are listening to. Do you trust them? Do you see yourself or your team working with them? You are unsure because you do not know them. It’s messy.

It’s clean in that there is something about them that you align with. They seem to get it. They are prepared, they can share good stories with facts and figures to back up their situation which matches their resume. Their life is in order and it matches what you need them to do.

The problem is when the interviewer doesn’t listen.

To make yourself listen always summarize to the candidate what you heard, after each question. You will learn that you listened and learned something or you will learn that you didn’t listen and missed parts of their story. The candidate might correct your summary of what you thought you heard. Learn from them then move to the next question.

Let the candidate talk and figure out if they want the job. Once again, listen.

Interviewers: When you do speak - Speak the truth to them about the job and make it sound interesting (don’t be boring) but let them talk and figure out if they want to work with you. Sharing the truth is good. Being funny is good. Talking about how good you are, not so good, even if you are the best executive in the world. I doubt Bill Gates starts his interviews by telling someone how good he is.

Like Socrates, a good interviewer knows they know nothing during an interview. Your secret weapon is to listen, learn, then take action.

PS - Beyond 4 interviews for a candidate is overkill. Find 3-4 diverse people who are good at interviewing, ask them to interview your candidate then make a decision. Do not ruin recruiting with bad interviews, bad coffee, and bad technology.



Ben Martinez