Hiring Wisely: When It Comes to Interviews, More Is Almost Always Better

     

One thing I've learned from many years of recruiting and hiring is that more perspectives help you make better hires.

I know it's never good to put job candidates through too many rounds of interviews (Tim Sackett says that four rounds prove that your hiring process is broken), or schedule too many in one day, but it's important to get different insights from different interviewers on potential hires.

I can't tell you how many times I've had a candidate where the consensus feedback seemed to be going one way until that last interviewer came back with something unexpected they had heard from them.

Frequency of interviews in the hiring process

Sometimes, the unexpected discovery was a red flag that told us to put the brakes on the hire. Other times, what we heard was something that made us reconsider our thinking about the candidate, and instead, challenged us to see them in a new and much more positive light.

All of this came to mind this week when reading the latest The New York Times‘ weekly Corner Office column by Adam Bryant. He talked with Bracken Darrell, CEO of technology accessories maker Logitech, and here's what he said when he was asked, "How do you hire?"

The most important thing for me is frequency of interviews over depth. I don’t hire anybody who I’ve met just once. It’s a long process. And then I get other people to meet them because I have blind spots. I’m super intuitive, and that’s really dangerous when you’re hiring people because you can really miss things.

And you can get a feel for what people are like when you’re in a restaurant. We’re a humble, self-effacing company that’s just trying to do good work. There’s no room here for enormous egos. I don’t like people who don’t respect others as equals, whether it’s a recruiter or a waiter."

I'm with Bracken Darrell -- more interviews help round out the overall picture you get of a job candidate. Yes, we need to be aware that we all have "blind spots" that make us miss certain things about people, and a well-rounded interview process with a lot of interviewers, and frequency, helps to make sure we don't miss important things.

This is something I know from first-hand hiring experience.

Follow your passion -- IF you know what it is

I also found Mr. Darrell's advice to college graduates interesting, because he gets into the topic of finding people with great passion, a topic that has popped up a number of times in Talent Insider's "Hiring Wisely" feature. Well, Bracken Darrell talks about passion in people, but he comes at it from a very different perspective.

My favorite commencement address is the Steve Jobs speech (in 2005 at Stanford). The only problem with it is when he talks about following your passion. You should follow your passions, of course. The problem is that 80 percent of people don’t really know what their passion is.

So my first piece of advice: Just work really, really hard. It’s amazing how good life is if you work hard.

My second piece of advice is to set goals. You know, goals are free. They don’t cost you anything, and they’re so effective. It’s about staying hungry, and setting a goal is just a way of creating hunger.

The single thing that’s made me successful over my life, the most important one, is drive. It’s not I.Q. It’s not some luck of having social skills that somebody else doesn’t have. It’s just drive.

I had the huge advantage of growing up with very little, and nothing really to fall back on. But you’ve got to find ways to stay hungry."

Building your own hiring philosophy

My take: Getting advice from a number of different leaders, whether it be on hiring, passion for the job, or staying hungry, helps you continue to grow and develop your own hiring and management philosophy. I don't expect to find the magic bullet from anything these various leaders say in this weekly Hiring Wisely series, but taken together, they can help me to better build what my own philosophy is.

That's something that should continue to develop in you over time. Yes, you'll always have some core principles you follow, but you'll also tweak and change here and there as you weigh what you experience, what you hear, and what you read.

Your own philosophy is the sum of all that you have rolling around in your brain at any one time. Hopefully, these weekly insights will add a little more to roll into what you've already got.

Editor’s note: Checkster, the parent company of Talent Insider blog, can help you find out a lot more about job candidates with the Reference Checkup tool, and can help you better evaluate candidates and compare what your interviewers learn with the Interview Checkup.


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About The Author

John Hollon is Checkster's Vice President for Content. He is an award-winning journalist and nationally-recognized expert on leadership, talent management and smart workforce practices who previously was Vice President of Editorial and the founding editor of TLNT.com. Before that, John was Editor of Workforce Management magazine, the longest published HR and talent management publication in the U.S.