Welcome to the Manager Tools Effective Interviewing video training. Effective hiring is the most important skill, and contribution a manager makes to his or her organization. It's the most important managerial practice. Yes, when it comes to managing your people that you already have, results are most important.
That's what managers do ‑‑ produce results in the short term. Executives are responsible for the long‑term sustainment of the organization, but executives, and managers both, are responsible for bringing new people into the organization.
Far too many managers approach hiring as if it's a chore, far too many managers think of their job as, "I have to fill an opening." If you've ever said to yourself, "Oh, my gosh. I have to fill an opening," you're probably going to start down the wrong path. You have a sense of urgency. You probably don't have a strong bench. You probably don't have a plan for what you're going to do to assess the people into your organization.
If it's the most important thing, then we ought to know how to do it. We have a saying here, at Manager Tools. We call it "The Horstman Christmas Rule." You might enjoy the holiday season, and yet, every year, after enjoying it, you're completely wiped out, and tired. The reason for that is, it's important to you, and you do it very rarely.
That definitely applies to interviewing. Managers come into interviewing, and they're not ready, and they make mistakes, then they end up having to make a hire. The urgency is even greater, and they're not confident about the process. More importantly, think about the people on your team, that you already have.
Maybe you have a team of eight, and you get an open requisition, you can hire a ninth person. What does it make the other eight feel, when the process, by which that ninth person is brought into the firm, is weak, or fragmented, or not clear. The bar was not set high. The impression they get is, "It's kind of easy to get hired here."
Is that an impression that will help them think, "This is a great place, this is someplace which really cares about the work that's done." In fact, if you think about it, what you want to do is raise the bar every time you hire, but you can't do that if you don't have a process. If you ask me, "What's the single biggest mistake that managers make when they interview?"
It's almost amusing, when I answer this question, but, when I tell people this, they immediately say, "Yes, it's true." The single biggest mistake that managers make in interviewing is not listening to the answers of the questions they put to the candidate. Now, you say, "How is that possible?" Well, ask yourself about your experience.
How many times have you been in an interview, asked a question, and after 20, 30 seconds, perhaps, you suddenly start thinking, "Oh, my gosh. What's my next question?" If you had a process, if you had prepared questions, if you knew what the process was going to lead to, if you knew what every step in the process was.
If you do all that in advance, if you prepare well, if you have a strategy, if you have tactics, and you have a process, and you have a known end‑result, good or bad, hire or don't hire. When you do all those things, you can actually eliminate the biggest mistake that managers make which is not being able to focus on the quality of the answers.
Why ask questions, if you're not going to pay attention to the answers. Effective hiring is the most important thing you do, because the people you hire, in many cases, will outlast you, in the firm. Every hire improves, or detracts from the quality of the organization. Which do you want to do? Do you want to improve the quality?
If you're going to improve the quality, you're going to have to set a high bar. We tell people all the time, "If there's nothing else you know about interviewing, let it be this." The purpose of an interview is to say, "No." If the purpose of an interview is to say, "Yes," it's easy. You don't have to interview.
You can simply say, "Let's bring people in, and we'll say, 'Yes,' to everybody, and if they don't work out, well, we'll just get rid of them. We'll get, probably, pretty good at transitioning people out of the organization." The danger of thinking that you have to hire somebody means you're looking for reasons to say, "Yes."
If you look for reasons to say, "Yes," you'll find them. If you're looking for reasons to say, "No," that's the purpose of an interview, is to say, "No," if you're looking for reasons to say, "No," you'll find them, too.
Or, in the case of an ultimate hire, you don't find them, and then you suddenly realize, "Now, I need to start considering the upside of this person. How good are they, really? I've looked for weaknesses. I don't see them, so maybe they're right for us, and maybe I can ask a few more questions to determine just how right they are."
The worst thing in the world is to interview 10 people, to have 5 or 6 people to interview 10 people, and at the end of the day to say, "We pretty well liked everybody." Is that a helpful process? Is that one that will make you feel good about the people that you end up bringing on board?
Whether it's one, or two, or three, or heaven forbid, a bunch more, all of whom, or many of whom, turn out to be not right. What most managers will tell you, who have been through the process, there's only one thing worse than not filling an open position, and that's filling that position with the wrong person.