Menasoft Menasoft Menasoft Menasoft Menasoft

May 3, 2006

What qualities do you look for in an interview?

If you have had the role of hiring manager, you already know that hiring good people is a really difficult job. It’s one of the more difficult problems you will ever have. The issue with hiring someone is almost anyone can lie effectively on an interview that lasts an hour or two. What is learned in this interview may not be a good prediction of exactly how they will act on the job.

After hearing many of the things people look for in an interview, and being on both sides of the interview process enough times, I’ve put together my mental list of things to look for in a candidate. These are not listed in order of importance because importance depends on the actual role. Some qualities are more important in some jobs than others. I’ll get to that next …

1. Stupid vs Smart – Raw intelligence is under most circumstances the most valuable quality in any employee. It allows them to learn quickly any new skills they need to get the job done.

2. Inexperienced vs Experience – Some skills take years to learn. Other skills can take days or weeks regardless of raw intelligence. You learn from the mistakes of yourself and others.

3. Lazy vs Self Motivating – If a person drags their feet, gets distracted and must be constantly monitored on a daily basis. Lazy people can be worked with, you just need to know that they will need daily monitoring to make sure they stay on tasks and make progress.

4. Arrogant vs Open and Balanced – listening to others opinions. Nobody knows everything. It is very important to know where and when you can get help from others. Maybe its just knowing when to pick up a book, ask for help or just re-think your strategy.

5. Communication – A genius who works hard but cannot communicate with others is not effective. Assuming most projects require you to work in a group. Very few jobs are so well defined to allow any one person to work in a vacuum.

Before judging a candidate for a job, an interviewer should probably get a good handle on what the job actually is. How can we know what skills are important unless we fully understand the job? As much as we try to pretend we know everything, most jobs are actually not well defined. Here are some things to think about when assigning value to the above qualities.

1. How well defined is this job? Is creativity and self direction important? Will this person get a detailed road map of what the job is ? or will they help in shaping that road?

2. What are the difficult parts of this job? How important is Experience, Smarts. Can any reasonably intelligent person pick up this necessary skill in a few weeks? The trend these days seems to be to place overly large value on experience and ignore other qualities. Taking a good assessment of how difficult the skill is should allow an interviewer to judge the value of experience more correctly.

Filed under: Philosophic — admin @ 8:09 am

1 Comment »

  1. 1) A candidate should have a strong grasp of the company and their industry. Peruse the company’s web site and be aware of their products, culture, customers etc.

    2) Have a business plan for what you expect to accomplish in the first 90 days. Write down your goals and how you expect to get there.

    3) Have examples of wins and losses in your career and how they have affected your work habits.

    4) Show up early for the interview.

    5) Ask questions about the company – their culture – what makes people there successful.

    Comment by larry — September 7, 2006 @ 8:48 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post.

Leave a comment

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.