I’m recruiting like crazy recently. It means I spend a lot of time on interviews with different fellow interviewers. First interesting observation is that basically all interviewers I know (me included) start with some, usually rather detailed, plan. We want to check some traits and technical knowledge. We want to get some feelings whether a candidate would be a good match to a team.
A short break. You’ve definitely heard this one: “Plans are useless but planning is indispensable” – the famous quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower. Not a surprising thing that it applies to interviews as well.
So yes, I do start interview with a plan, but I hardly ever follow it step by step. I prefer to go with the flow of conversation. I prefer to dig over interesting things I hear from candidate instead of going through a standard list of questions. I prefer to wander around different subjects to get the gut feeling whether a candidate would fit the team.
Every interview is a kind of experiment for me. As a rule of thumb – the further we go away from my initial plans the better is my opinion about the candidate.
There’s another perspective as well. Every interview is an experiment done on my general interview plan. From time to time I hear that I ask interesting questions during interviews. Well thanks; I invented them all during interviews. Usually talking with especially interesting candidates.
If your interviews are all done routinely and looks each time exactly the same rethink whether your job is just to ask some standard questions. If so, are you more than just an HR droid?
If you treat every interview as an experiment you will learn more about candidates and improve your hiring skills as well.