Beef Tips

June 2016 Management Minute

“Quit Interviewing Wrong”

by Chris Reinhardt, feedlot specialist

As managers, we trust our people-reading skills and intuition. Good managers certainly can read people. But the problem is that we will ultimately be wrong. We will be right, and we will also be wrong at the very same time.

The truth is, people act and behave and respond differently under different circumstances and environments. It’s not that people “lie”, but instead, people either consciously or subconsciously assess the interviewer and the environment and they adapt their responses to the environment.

People will be “different people” in different environments and with different interviewers. So the point is, a single interview will likely reveal certain characteristics or mannerisms of the candidate, but you will only see a small slice of the total of who the candidate is. A friend of mine says, “Anyone can clean up for a 2-hour interview.”

If you want to be certain that you understand who the candidate is, you will need to dig a little deeper than a single brief interview. There is a company in Nebraska whose owner insists on interviewing every candidate for every open position a minimum of 4 times in 4 different locations, and 1 of which includes the spouse, if applicable.

If you run a business which needs a large number of unskilled workers, and you will likely have a large percentage of turnover, this model will not work. But if you’re trying to build a team of individuals who will be with you for the long haul, who fit your team culture, who will enhance team chemistry, and who will not only grow into their individual role but who will become future team leaders, you need to spend time and invest in the interview process.

Suggestions for interviewing environments might include the business office, a neutral off-site location such as a restaurant, and the actual workplace. It may also help to have others interview the candidate other than the manager, especially people who will need to work with this person on a daily basis. The key is to alter the environment and circumstances of the interview to (1) see a more complete picture of who the candidate is under different circumstances, and (2) to get feedback from a trusted colleague who may have the ability to see different characteristics of the candidate.

The future of your team is too valuable to trust to a single 30-minute or even a single 2-hour interview; it’s not that your assessment will be wrong, it’s that your picture of the candidate will be very incomplete. Take the time to invest in the future of your team by giving candidates an opportunity to show you a complete picture of who they are.

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