Smart Interviewing In A Downturn

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How are interviews different during downturns?
  • How many interviews should I hold?
  • What extras should I be looking for?

This cast describes how to interview effectively during a downturn, particularly for difficult to fill positions.

When you get to fill a position during a down market, it usually means it's a critical position, and/or one that's been open a long time. Because you're in a buyer's market, it's usually pretty easy to find a good, even an exceptional, candidate. But you have to change how you interview in that situation, and here's how.

  [Play in Popup]

Extra Content
    Manager Tools Personal License
    Interviewing Series
    First Job Fundamentals   

Compassionate Layoffs?

I could not post in the "Compassionate Layoffs?" podcast so I wanted to try here. In the "Compassionate Layoffs" podcast you mention 2 other casts, I could not locate them, do they exist? I really could use them now. Thank you.

I'm sorry, Harlan. First, I

I'm sorry, Harlan. First, I fixed the ability to comment on "Compassionate Layoffs" — thanks for pointing that out!

On the 2 others casts mentioned, I'm sure they exist, but can't recall those we referenced. Do you remember the names?


Reposting slides

I keep getting an error when trying to download the slides from this episode. Could you please re-post them? Thanks!

bdelfavero, Sorry for the


Sorry for the troubles. I don't think that's the issue. I suspect if you clear your browser cache and try again, you'll have better success.


Telegraphing the purpose of a behavioral question

 I've been listening to the hiring series and am really excited about implementing the ideas from it, especially the behavioral questions.  

I noticed a difference in the advice between "Smart Interviewing in a Downturn" and "How to Create a Simple Behavioral Interview Question."  In the downturn cast, the advice is to avoid mentioning collaboration in the question around this behavior, with an example question being: 

“Tell me about a time when you had to work with others to achieve something difficult at work in the last few years. What was the goal, how did you set about including others, what did you do, and what were the results?”

In the cast on creating behavioral interview questions the advice is to use a lead-in sentence such as:

p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.1px 'Trebuchet MS'; color: #5f8196}

"We are structured around cross-functional teams, which at times can make things harder. Walk me through an experience where you had to persuade rather than direct because you weren’t the boss."


The idea of the lead-in sentence appeals to me because it lets the candidate know what I'm looking for and gives them a better opportunity to find a good example from their past if they have one.  My impression is that if the behavioral question digs deep enough and searches for the candidate's actual behavior it won't really matter that you have telegraphed what you are looking for.  If the candidate cannot cite specific examples of collaboration including the names of team members and details about conversations and conflict she will fail the question even if she knows it's about collaboration.  In addition, the lead-in gives the candidate some information about the job she will be performing so that if she does get an offer she can make a better decision about her own fit into the role.  


So my question to the forum is to lead-in or not to lead-in?  What experiences have others had in this area?


Thanks!  And thanks to Michael & Mark for a great podcast series!




p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 16.1px 'Trebuchet MS'; color: #5f8196}