As a manager at TINYpulse, counterparts at other organizations often ask me how we do our interviewing. You see, as a company focused on promoting happier employees worldwide, we set a really, really high bar for fostering an engaging, productive, and collaborative environment. And that means the interview process has to probe deeply into a candidate’s likelihood to be the kind of person that will promote this type of environment.
I won’t pretend we’ve nailed every single possible aspect of the interview experience, but I can say we have some darn happy employees. So we’re doing something right! Here are just a few tips on how any manager can probe for fit.
Don’t Be a Jerk
I always start off an interview with telling a candidate a little about myself, what I do, and what they can expect from the interview experience. It’s a mini icebreaker to hopefully help calm their nerves and let them know what’s to come.
Interviews do not need to be about taking a candidate through the ringer. Instead, they should be an opportunity to assess a candidate’s background, interests, and overall style. Taking the edge off upfront and showing a friendly face is meant to put them at ease and give me a better chance to see what they are really like on a day-to-day basis.
Give Them a Case Study … but Don’t Make It Feel Like One
We’re a young, growing company where everyone needs to be flexible, think on their feet, and be comfortable juggling a lot of tasks. That’s why I love talking through a “What If…” scenario. I like to see if they can brainstorm on the fly, work through mental blocks, and if they’re comfortable saying “I don’t know.”
But I make sure it’s collaborative and offer up ideas, questions, and other ways for them to think about the task as we’re walking through a potential project. In a real world project, I expect to engage and collaborate with my team member. That’s why I stay away from high-pressure case study approaches so many companies like to use. It’s not how we work here, and it’s not how I want any team member to operate.
Ask Them About Their Last Manager
You’re no doubt looking for a team member that fits your company’s culture. But let’s face it. You also want someone that complements you too. Think about your work style and what would be the right fit for you.
That’s why I like to ask about a candidate’s current manager and what they do and don’t like about that individual. I’m always looking for team members that are comfortable working independently but also have no hesitations about popping in with questions or new ideas. Asking about their last manager (and implicitly how they worked with that individual) offers me a clear window into their personal work style and if it will gel well with me.
Ask About What They Do for Fun
This is my all-time favorite question to ask at the end of an interview. I love to work with well-rounded people who have interests beyond just their jobs. After all, all work and no play make for dull coworkers.
Give these recruitment strategies a shot, or maybe use it as your opening icebreaker to start off the entire interview experience on a positive foot.