When I founded A-list Interviews over a decade ago, one of the first books I read was Martin Yate’s “Hiring The Best”, which describes the interviewing process as a “dirty secret” in business. He observed that we promote people within our organizations, ask them to assemble and manage teams, and then hold them accountable to the performance of that team without actually giving them the proper skills to be successful. We invest in skills training for goal achievement and leadership, yet rarely do we invest in their ability to conduct effective interviews.
So why after 20+ years is this still a dirty secret? Why haven’t we had a global conversation about interviewing?
People mistakenly believe that conducting an interview is an easy process that comes naturally. “It is something that we feel we are expected to know, or that comes with experience. Couple that feeling with the average ego and you get ‘It’s easy enough to interview; I know a good one when I see one; It’s sort of a gut feel,’” states Martin Yate. Sadly, statistics do not support that assertion. According to Peter Drucker, 2/3 of all hiring decisions are found to be a mistake within the year. That is a 66% failure rate.
Here is the bottom line: successfully interviewing candidates is not a process based on intuition, instinct, gut feel or judgment. It is a skill set like any other, and it can be taught. How do I know this? Because of my dirty secret: I made an exceptionally bad hire who made national news in 2002. In dealing with the aftermath, I was forced to put my ego aside and admit that even though I thought I knew how to hire effectively, it was obvious that I needed a better process. I launched an enormous research project to figure out how to interview people effectively for the best hire, which was the beginning of A-list Interviews. Don’t continue to carry around your dirty secret. The only way to learn and grow is to admit what you don’t know and then ask for help. Let me teach you how to interview people, so that you and your company can be hugely successful!