How can we hire the best with today’s job market? We all know that unemployment is at its highest. What does that mean to the employers? When I wrote the book on Strategic Interviewing (which, by the way, you can buy for a huge bargain used right now) nine years ago, there were more people than jobs. At that time, the employers worked hard at strengthening their interviewing in order to hire the best person for the job. They recognized the high costs of bad interviewing decisions. In time the job market shrank. Employers became less interested in quality interviewing and more interested in getting bodies to occupy jobs.

Now, we face the pendulum swing back the other way. More and more qualified, talented, educated people are flooding the job market. This might seem a good thing for employers. I would caution, however, for quality interviewing. One thing never changes, it costs all of us less when we hire right to begin with.

Strategic interview takes skill. The interviewer must know what they are looking for (that means researching what success in a job means) and then must ask questions that help them determine if a candidate meets those needs.

The foundation of strategic interviewing is behavior-based interviewing. That simply means focusing on what a candidate has done rather than what that candidate thinks he might do. This may seem simple to you. Imagine, however, how many questions we pose which are future oriented: What are your goals for the future? What do you want to do in five years? How might you handle this situation of conflict if you faced it? These kinds of questions require a candidate to speculate. Instead, the strategic interviewer must determine what they are trying to discover. For the first two questions you might want to know how the candidate sets and manages goals. Here are some strategic or behavior-based questions that can get to that: Tell me how you managed to achieve your Master’s Degree or How have you set goals in the past to enable you to get where you are? The third questioner above wants to know how a person might handle conflict. A better question might be, “How have you handled situations of conflict in the past?”

Let’s remember that regardless of whether we have an ocean of candidates or a small pool of people, as interviewers our goal remains the same: Find the best person for the job.

Author's Bio: 

Joan Curtis coined the concept, strategic interviewing in her book Strategic Interviewing: Skills and Tactics for Savvy Executives. She has done management and leadership consulting for over 20 years. Check out her website where you can purchase the few copies of Strategic Interviewing through Amazon for a ridiculously low price.

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