Monday, March 17, 2014

Reading between the lines in an Interview

We have designed a special role for you
It means
We have absolutely no idea what we are going to do with you

This is a challenging role
It means
You have to challenge authorities to know what they want from you

This is a once in a lifetime opportunity
It means
The job will be so arduous that you may not live long enough to see another opportunity

You will be directly reporting to the head
It means
In our organization people do not have access to the business heads. You are lucky

We expect you to be well read in your area
It means
I have no questions to ask

Types of Interviews

Human Resource is one of the most strategic partners for any organization. One of the most essential areas of Human Resources is the recruitment. From attraction, selection to retention, recruitment is critical for all 3 divisions. To make sure that we have the right candidate we need to take a couple of steps to assess the candidate.

Selection can be based on Competency Based Interview or Situation Based Interviews. Also the management can come to a consensus to take Assessment Centers for senior positions or go for Live Projects when it comes to recruiting key talent for the company. Many companies assess the abilities of candidates through case studies, aptitude tests and also psychometric tests.

The best evaluation instrument in the hands of the recruiter is the Competency Based Interviews or Situation Based Interviews. In a Competency Based Interview also known as Behavior Based Interview the interviewer tries to extract competencies from an informal discussion on the past experiences of the candidate. The interview can also be a structured one, in which all the questions are predefined and competencies are extracted from what the candidate has done in the past.
The technique used is called STAR viz. Situation, Tasks, Actions and Results. You need to ask questions regarding a past Situation and how did the incumbent tackle the situation. What “tasks” he did. What “Actions” those tasks included. And finally what were the results of those activities. During the entire discussion on STAR you would come to know on the competencies of the candidate.

Another interviewing techniques the Situation Based interview in which competencies are arrived through answers of questions which are on a hypothetical situations. For example you are leading a post of 5 army men on a task and you realize that two have fled the post, one is sick and two others do not like each other. You are stuck in a no man’s land and have to send a message urgently to your regiment which is some 5 kilometers away. How would you do it? While answering the candidate would display signs of competencies which you are looking for. The interviewer needs to carefully assess each of his answers and arrive at a conclusion whether the candidate has the competencies they are looking for.

Similarities between driving and life

I was driving my car to office and when I learnt the 3 biggest lessons of my life. It was uncanny how driving had a striking similarity with life. Driving teaches us many lessons which we would not have learnt if it was not for driving.

Why is the rear view mirror smaller than the windshield? It is so because it reminds us that we need to keep our past memories and undue worries in a very small part of our perspective. The major part should be to have a vision and look ahead at the present and the imminent and the future.

Also while we drive we only view the broad road, the small pebbles and potholes can be ignored since if we kept trying to avoid them we would end up spending more fuel on going zig-zag rather than straight forward. Similarly in life we need to ignore or just bear the small problems keeping the bigger vision in sight. If we keep solving all the small problems in life, we would be spending significant time and energy on those small issues and would be diverted from our greater goal in life to enjoy the presents that God has bestowed upon us. We need to be alert and awake for a bigger goal and a greater vision than to be bothered about the small potholes and pebbles on the way.

A striking resemblance is driving and in life is on the speed of your driving. The person behind you will not honk you till the time you are giving him space to move and he is aware that he cannot drive any faster than what he is currently doing. The moment he sees a stretch of empty road in front of him he pushes the paddle hard enough. Similarly in life, in work place, when you see your boss moving above the corporate ladder in a steady pace you are not upset since you know he would be making space for you. The moment you are hit by an incompetent boss who you know will not move from him current position you start feeling asphyxiated since if he doesn’t move; he wouldn’t let you move too.