Why you should get your candidates to interview each other

Why you should get your candidates to interview each other

Recruiters – forget all you know. The traditional interview setting, where those in the hiring hot seat have all the power is, apparently, all wrong.

That’s according to Udemy Leadership Coach Lawrence Miller. He tells Fast Company that it’s a “terrible environment and exercise for making judgments about people”.

He continued: “The interviewer is a poor observer because he or she is performing at the same time. [Instead] you are a much better observer of behaviour when you can sit back and watch the candidates perform in a simulation that calls on the same skills required in the job.”

Miller suggests that candidates should be interviewed in small groups, and they should interview him and his team and then each other. Allowing candidates to interview you, is a good indicator of fit, Miller claims. “It helps them decide whether they want to work for us; a job is, after all, a marriage,” he says. “They could ask absolutely any question that they felt was important to their decision.”

He explained that the most common questions were about finances, management practices, work methods, and expectations, and Miller looked for honesty. “We most appreciated when they asked questions like, ‘What happens when a client is unhappy with your performance?’ Or, ‘How do we know that you are financially secure?’ If they’re not curious about anything, it’s not a good sign.”

The next step was letting the candidates interview each other. “I told them, ‘You’re probably as qualified as we are to do this interview, so we are going to ask you to interview each other and then recommend to us who we should hire—somebody other than yourself,” Miller explains. “I deliberately folded my arms and pushed my chair away from the table, clearly indicating that the ball was now in their court.”

When the candidates completed their interviews, Miller gave each person a piece of paper that had these four questions:

Who would you hire and why?

Who do you think is most technically competent to do this job?

Who has the best skills?

Who would you choose to be stranded with in an airport during a snowstorm?

“The last question was a good indicator of likeability,” says Miller. “We found that question to be the most reliable, because in the kind of consulting we did, it was a really good predictor of who would succeed.”

Will you be trying this interview process? Tell us in the comments...

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