Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

Interviewing: Finding the “Right” Candidate

You’ve got a new position added to your team – yes!

Now you’ve got the challenge of finding the just-right person to fill the role.

Historically, interview questions center around how the candidate has the best skills for the job or what they think sets them apart from all the other candidates.

But how can you be sure they have these skills?

Try interviewing FIRST for character, personality, and culture fit for your organization!

Ready to try it? Here are some behavior-based questions to get your juices flowing:

  • Tell me about a time you set a goal for yourself. How did you go about ensuring that you would meet your objective?
  • If you could choose to have any superpower – what would it be?
  • We are sometimes confronted with the dilemma of having to choose between what is right and what is best for the company. Can you please give me an example of a situation in which you faced this dilemma and how you handled it?
  • Walk me through a time you were able to be creative with your work.
  • Tell me about a situation in which you have had to adjust to changes over which you had no control. How did you handle it?
  • What does your best day ever look like?
  • Give me an example of a time you discovered an error that been overlooked by a colleague. What did you do? What was the outcome?
  • We’ve all done things that we regretted. Can you give me an example that falls into this category for you? How would you handle it differently today?

Try some of these out and let us know how they go!

We’d also love to hear some of your best interviewing questions!


Would You Ask For It?

Would You Ask For It?


It seems like so many times we only think about feedback when we need to have a hard conversation with someone.

We gather the facts and then “say what we need to say.”

Can you imagine how different your team would be if they were asking for feedback? If they gave you the opportunity to share what you were thinking or seeing?

Crazy. Right?

Well, to get to that place it starts with us, as Managers, to begin that journey of asking for feedback.

Peter Bregman wrote a fabulous article called How to Ask for Feedback That Will Actually Help You.

One of his tips was to probe more deeply with questions. Asking questions in different ways helps you to get a fuller answer – painting a clearer picture of what the other person is trying to ask for.

Having trouble thinking of a couple of questions to even begin with? We’ve got a couple of ideas:

  • What is one suggestion you have that I can do to better support my team?
  • If your boss were to give me one suggestion, what would it be?
  • What part of my leadership or management style concerns you the most?
  • How well do you feel I communicate? What can I do to better communicate with those I work with?
  • What specifically could I have done better on X project?

Maybe one of these questions sparked an idea!

So, gather up your courage and go ask for some feedback!

You’ll be a better leader because of it!

Think More Like A….

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It’s probably safe to say that we have all had a moment like this… someone who you work for calls you into their office and says “I want you to think more like entrepreneur”.

What does that MEAN?! Entrepreneur is ambiguous, unclear, and you feel like you don’t have the freedom/power/authority to do what your boss is asking. You walk away wondering what is it that they are actually asking you to do?

Frustrated yet? Me too.

And your boss is frustrated too.

Now what?

The next time you are asked to think more like an entrepreneur, merchant, sales man, lawyer, or like your customer – we’d encourage you to ask some of the following questions:

  • Can you tell me a little more about what that means to you?
  • How can I demonstrate the quality you are looking for?
  • If I were thinking more like [a sales man] how would you know?
  • I am totally on board with working towards this – can you help clarify what success would look like here?

By asking clarifying questions you are engaging the other person to help define what they would like to see changed.

And, maybe think about being a little more descriptive the next time you ask your direct reports to change something they are doing too!

Auto Response


Are you on auto response? Many of us are.

“How are you?” is met with “good” or “fine” even when things aren’t so good. A client responded this way while dealing with a painful kidney stone. He was most certainly not “good”, but it was his auto response. I wasn’t fooled by the verbal response and instead asked more specific questions based on the pallor of his skin and grimace on his face. Turns out he wasn’t good, and needed help.

This happens to be a physical example, but the danger of the incorrect auto response is important to be aware of in many cases. If you’re not careful in your relationships – as a manager, employee, coach, partner, parent, or friend –  the auto response and your reaction to it can make for confusing communication, misread cues, and stress.

What to do?

As the inquiring party –

  • Begin with a more specific question. “How are you?” and “how was your day/week/month?” is much more likely to get you a short, non-specific auto response than questions like “what did you learn most from recently?” or “what’s been the most challenging part of the week?” or “what was the most rewarding part of the week?”
  • Listen carefully. Listen to more than the words. Tone and body language all play into communicating. Try to understand how the words and the body language combine into what the person is really saying
  • Ask clarifying questions. If you’re not clear and have the question mark balloon floating above your head, ask another question

On the receiving side of the questions –

  • Dial back your auto response. Sure, there are the folks in the elevator that say “how are you?” and don’t expect (or want) a response other than “good”. But getting what you need and want from communicating means getting more specific in your answer to people that care

Have you talked in an auto response (or responses!) lately?

What tactics will you try to keep your conversations more real and less on autopilot?