Interviewing for impact and personal development

Who am I to judge?

When I started interviewing I found it hugely uncomfortable. There I am, face to face with a nice person that has spent years learning their craft, has dealt with familiar problems, faced familiar challenges. They are excited, nervous, well prepared and eager. Who am I to judge and maybe tell them they are not good enough to join my team?

Saying NO as a service

It’s instructive to make mistakes, especially when hiring for your own team. It’s not fun to see someone struggle in a role. For them it’s a very bad and damaging experience. On the team it has a negative impact and the time spent dealing with underperformance is costly for the company.

Checking your bias

Interviewing forces you to think about what it takes to succeed in a role, how to assess it and how to mentally separate relevant from irrelevant information. A nervous gesture that puts you off, or a shirt you would not have put on at gunpoint, such things should not influence your hiring decisions. You attempt to prioritize the suitable over the likeable. Proven capabilities over preferences. This trains you to check your biases. A very important training for professionals in any role.

Understanding your craft

What does it mean to be good in your craft? What skills are fundamental and hard to acquire and what can be picked up with low effort. Interviewing is rubber-ducking your craft, deepening your understanding of it. And every person you assess also serves as a mirror for your self reflection.

Leading the conversation

An interview is not a free conversation. Candidates are led along the questions that help you make your assessment. Some candidates need to be reassured, others slowed down. You may need to reformulate your question to bridge cultural differences. Or adjust your style of communication. And all this needs to be done quickly to get to a complete picture in the time you have.

Training

You train such skills by first shadowing more experienced interviewers, by following the training available and then by interviewing alongside a colleague, observing their technique and getting feedback on your own.

Brace for impact

With a team of people interviewing multiple candidates we can easily invest over 40 hours of interviewers time to get a hire, and sometimes much more. It can be discouraging to do a few interviews in sequence without a hire. You may feel your time could be spent differently with bigger impact.

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