Conducting an effective interview for a senior member of staff is something of an artform.
With the right approach, questions and intuition, you’ll be able to single out a top candidate that can make a real difference in your organisation.
But, get it wrong and you could end up with a very costly bad hire. Something any business should aim to avoid.
If you’re currently finding a few bad hires are slipping through the cracks, it’s time to review your interviewer techniques.
We’ve rounded up our six top tips, straight from the minds of our team of expert executive search consultants.
Our 6 Top Interviewer Tips
We’ve laid out six different types of interviewing you might consider including in your interview process. This way, if you’re finding that inappropriate candidates who lack the right competencies, or aren’t aligned with your values are ending up with contracts, you can use our competencies or values interviewing tips to address these issues head on.
Let’s take a closer look at our top interviewer techniques.
1. Behavioural interviewing
This interviewer technique focuses on asking candidates to provide specific examples of their past behaviour, experiences, and accomplishments. The interviewer can use these examples to evaluate the candidate's ability to handle the challenges and responsibilities of the executive role they are applying for.
It gives the interviewer a really good idea of how a candidate might react in a similar situation in your organisation and provides a clearer view of their future performance too. Be sure to look out for the STAR (Situation, Task, Action and Result) format in this, to ensure they’re taking a strategic and well-rounded approach to a situation.
2. Situational interviewing
With this interview style, you’ll be presenting candidates with hypothetical scenarios that are likely to occur in the job and asking them how they would handle the situation. This interviewer technique helps the interviewer to assess the candidate's decision-making skills and their ability to think on their feet.
As they won’t be aware of the scenario in advance, it gives you an opportunity to understand how they might react under pressure, and how they are likely to perform in decision-making situations in the future too. They should draw on their previous experience too in these moments, which gives you a good idea of their appropriateness for the role.
This is especially useful when hiring to top-level executive positions, as pressure and decision making will be part and parcel of their role.
3. Competency-based interviewing
It’s incredibly useful to assess the candidate's skills and abilities against a set of predefined competencies required for a job role. The interviewer can ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to demonstrate how they have used these skills in the past, and how they would apply them in the future.
This should be the basis or foundation of any job interview and, at this point when they’ve been through the application process, and their CV has been carefully reviewed, it’s a matter of making sure what they’ve said on their application rings true.
It might feel like, because they’ve written down that they have the relevant experience, however competency based questions can really shine a light on whether they really are right for the job.
4. Values-based interviewing
Values are incredibly important, especially when you’re looking to hire at a senior or managerial level within your business. Your leaders should represent your values and lead by example to ensure the culture of your business is distilled from the top down.
This interviewer technique involves evaluating the candidate's personal values and beliefs to determine whether they align with the organisation's culture and values. The interviewer can ask questions about the candidate's experiences that are relevant to your own values as a business.
From there, you as the interviewer should be on the lookout for responses that reflect the values. And, if they’ve done their due diligence, they should regularly refer back to them.
5. Panel interviewing
When looking to employ someone at an executive or leadership level, it’s important to have the support of panel. With more people there to listen and engage with the potential candidate, it takes the pressure off of a one-on-one interview, and allows you to sound ideas and opinions off of one another.
This technique involves having several interviewers conduct the interview together. Each interviewer can ask questions that focus on different aspects of the candidate's skills, experiences, and personality. The panel can then compare notes and evaluate the candidate's overall suitability for the job.
To make it even more structured, you can use a predetermined scoring matrix that all of you must adhere to. You can base this on the job description, and therefore ensure you’re all aligned with your approach to finding the right, and best candidate for the role.
6. Case interviewing
Similar to the situational interview approach, this is focussed more on business decisions and approaches. By sharing a business case, that may or may not have been a real issue, you can understand how their mind works when it comes to business, and understand whether they have the experience and skill to take your organisation to the next level as a senior member of staff.
Be on the lookout for examples of strategic thinking, problem solving abilities, business acumen and experience within your industry. This will give you a real insight into whether or not they can benefit your organisation.
Ready for your next interview?
Our interviewer tips should help give you a good idea of what you might be missing from your recruitment process. However, if you’d like more support with finding and recruiting the very best candidates for your business, you might benefit from a chat with our team of expert executive search consultants.
Get in touch with SPS International today and we’ll help you take the risk and guesswork out of hiring at an executive level.