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Your Interview Style Needs Sprucing Up

Our interview style—the way we present ourselves to the candidate, is vital to making a good hire. In our interviews, we present the face of our companies to the outside world. To hire good people we must act and look professional.  Often, candidates form their first impressions of our company as a result of meeting us.

In addition, our interview style, must be constantly developed and refined if we are to draw out from the many differing candidates, the vital information that allows us to decide if we will make an offer to that candidate.

We all know some people who are clearer about their jobs, career paths and life goals than others. They have a vision for themselves. If these are the types of candidates you want to hire (and we assume you do!), in this issue we give you some tips that will help you “fine tune” your interview style—and uncover these focused (and ambitious!) candidates during your interviews.

“Everything I have done in my life has prepared me well for the next thing that I do. I am always working to make myself better,” one candidate recently said to me.  It was clear when this candidate spoke to me that he really felt he had a “path” – just like other successful people we read about and know personally. I like that!

The best candidates I have interviewed  think the same way. They have clear goals. They have a path. In their careers and jobs, they can give you a reason why they did what they did and where they think they are headed. They are focused and “grounded.” Although some may argue this way of thinking doesn’t leave much room for the “creative” process of forming a career, I still think it’s the winning way. So, if you want to uncover these types of candidates in your interview process, here are a few simple suggestions to incorporate into your interview:

Review the Resume Chronologically

I like to start at the beginning – quite literally. I tell the candidate I’d like him to walk me through his resume” and give me a quick overview of his career, starting right at the beginning. I see how concise, clear (or rambling) they can be. If they can’t present themselves effectively, we have a problem. While the candidate is giving me his history, I’m busy asking lots of “why” questions (in a conversational way, of course!) I even like to ask why they chose the university or college they did. That’s a great question! I had one candidate tell me “Well, that’s the only school that accepted me.” (Can you guess how long that interview lasted?) I had one candidate tell me he wanted to go to school in California because all of his family went to school in the Boston area and he wanted to “break the mold.” That adventuresome attribute was a plus for my client. (And, of course, the ones who got four-year scholarships go to the head of the class!)

You should get a clear idea during this chronological review if your candidate has been moving forward, sideways or backward. It’s that simple.

Some things to look for are:

    • Promotions and increasing responsibility
    • Increasing quota size or territory
    • Management of others
    • Awards or accolades received

Philip Kemper is Founder/President of Kemper Associates, a 38 year old Chicago-based national executive search firm, specializing in Permanent and Contract staffing for Trade Shows and Exhibits, Staging and Equipment Rental, Business Meetings and Events Production, Video, Training and Incentives and more .His more complete bio is on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/philip-kemper/2/795/308/ . You may view Kemper Associates’ web site at: www.Kemperassociates.org , and contact Phil with questions or comments, and employment needs at: Kemperassoc@hotmail.com, or his private phone line: (312) 944-6551.

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