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The Heretic is a free dispatch delivering insights into what it takes to lead into & in the unknown. For entrepreneurs, corporate irritants and change makers. Raw, unfiltered and opinionated.

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Jan 13th, 2014 Share: Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn

Interview Your Heart Out

I’ve hired people in different capacities for most of my working life. As a founder and CEO, as someone charged with building new teams, as someone asked to support the hiring efforts in another team… I believe I never got the science completely right but developed somewhat of a gut feel and a tool chest filled with questions and techniques which worked for me.

One of the common issues I see in hiring is that interviewers ask hypothetical questions: You ask the candidate how he would solve problem x (often a problem in your organization). I believe pretty much all that tells you is how capable the candidate is in making stuff up. It says nothing about their ability to actually do the work.

Personally I always asked a potential hire to walk me through a project which went wrong. I ask them to walk me through all the gory details and ask tons of questions. When the candidate says “we” I ask what her personal involvement was. When she talks about something in the abstract I ask her to go into the concrete details of the situation. When she talks strategy I ask for tactics.

Nothing predicts future behavior better than past behavior (in an interview situation).

My good friend and kick-ass CEO Jana Eggers likes to ask “Tell me about your last project. Who was involved and what was the biggest challenge?” — an excellent starting point for further exploration.

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