The Art of the Hire: Interview Tips

March 11, 2015

If you’re sitting down for a face-to-face conversation, chances are the candidate has been vetted at least somewhat and will have the necessary skills to do the job. You’re looking to find something less obvious. Is this specific person going to be the one to move your team forward? This information doesn’t live on a resume, it likely has more to do with attitude and problem-solving abilities. So how can you lead an interview that gets past the shiny interview-day smiles and self-puffery and surfaces these qualities? Here are a few lines of questioning to consider.

There’s no success like failure, and failure’s no success at all.

That’s how Bob Dylan put it, but the idea that failure is essential to success is not seen as paradoxical in the era of the startup. Can your candidate talk about past failures openly? Try to find out two things: how the candidate viewed and learned from the experience and how much fight did he or she have. Sometimes there’s a sensible reason for failure, but how hard was it to accept that reason? It’s good sportsmanship not to badger around this question. If it’s not revealing, simply move on.

Work Ethic.

As trite as it sounds, nothing trumps hard work. And hard work is all about tolerance and tenacity. How far can they push a project before they hate it and you and everything? How well do they perform the small tasks when, to borrow another quote, the only thing at stake is the tissue-thin difference between a thing done well and a thing done ill?

Compromise and Unexpected Results.

Ask about projects they worked on that they didn’t expect to succeed but were pleasantly surprised by. Ultimately you want to find out how open the person is to exploring projects that they may initially think are dumb. This hopefully casts a window into what they perceive as below them (yikes) as well as whether or not they’re willing to try new things. Could be very revealing.

Rockstar Question.

Ask about a project they worked on in which they were firing on all cylinders. This is something they should be a little prepared for, but that’s fine. Pay attention to what motivated them more than the results. Hopefully you can find out what makes them tick — in under an hour.

About NextGen

NextGen is the brainchild of longtime telecom professionals with nearly 50 years of experience and millions of dollars in Telecom Recruiting Services. We focus on establishing long term relationships with our clients and candidates so we can recruit the best and the brightest in the telecom industry. This ‘quality over quantity’ approach is at the heart of everything we do and has resulted in successful job placements at Fortune 1000 firms worldwide.

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