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Tim Millett
Published by Tim Millett
08 October 2013

Within any organisation there are many different kinds of interviews occurring at any time. They include interviews to hire new people, supplier interviews, internal promotion interviews, and project team selection interviews. A healthy organisation is always in a state of flux and that presents important challenges to be met in order to remain competitive.

The ability to apply effective interviewing techniques seems to be one of those skills that simply gets overlooked many times. Organisations promote employees to management positions and often expect them to be able to understand the intricacies of interviewing skills without training or practice. That is because many people are advanced based on their outstanding technical skills alone and are not given the personnel skills training needed to do their job properly. This is one reason why companies end up with the wrong people in the wrong positions and are totally baffled as to how it happens.

Spectrum of Need

Fortunately interview techniques can be applied across the spectrum of need because managers interview in order to fit a person into a particular job that has skill requirements. This may be the new employee filling a vacant spot or a team member who must be able to work with others to achieve specific project goals. But in addition, there will be the need to develop interview techniques to develop a project from scratch requiring the ability to examine internal and external resources for information relative to project design.

The best way to look at the interviewing process is to recognise that all positions within a company are part of a team. It may be the organisational team, the department team, or the project team, but interview techniques are intended to match individual skills to a current available job opening with an eye to future progression.

The need to recognise potential employee success is an important goal of effective interview techniques. A manager can fill a particular position and discover the employee will never be able to adapt to a changing organisation. The person will only be able to do one job and one job only. But when the right interviewing strategies are used, employees that fill organisational and/or project team positions are selected on the basis of both their ability to do the current job and their ability to grow with the company.

Balancing the Current with the Future

This is a critical feature of interviewing that is often ignored: balancing current needs with future potential. Successful interviewing techniques will focus on much more than just past work history though that is one measurement used to identify potentially successful team members. An effective interview will ask open creative questions that encourage the interviewee to share the information that is essential for determining the true value of a person to the organisation over the long term.

  • Developed skills that are applicable to position needs
  • Personality traits that match culture of organisation
  • Interpersonal skills that indicate a potentially successful team player
  • Potential leadership ability
  • Ability to resolve conflict
  • Personal goals, short and long-term, and how they blend with organisational goals
  • Specialised knowledge or technical skills possessed that are essential to success of project
  • Past success and failures understood in context

Developing interviewing skills among managers and project leaders is one of the most important steps an organisation can take towards insuring long term success. Yet it is also one of the skills which is frequently expected to be developed through on-the-job trial and error. A much better approach is to use professional trainers who can efficiently teach managers and leaders how to apply interviewing techniques that promote the mission of the business.

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