Unscripted Blog


Interview Innovation

Mar 31 2016

Interview Innovation

The Quality of Your Decisions will Depend on the Quality of the Questions You (get) Ask (ed).

Hiring for your company can be one of the most important decisions you make, and if you are a start-up you can’t afford a mistake. You want to make sure you ask the right questions, right?

Not so fast. How do you know who to invite to the interview process? Your time is precious, and you can’t waste it on those who only appear good on paper (their paper, that they wrote or paid someone to make them look good).

Nathan Waterhouse, director and co-founder of IDEO’s collaborative problem solving platform, OIEngine wrote about a hiring experiment in his blog that OIEngine is trying.

Once they have identified qualified candidates using LinkedIn (their preferred job search platform), they invite the candidates to submit 10 questions they have about the job.

According to Waterhouse, “The questions people ask, and the way they ask them tells you more than a one page cover letter, it doesn’t matter how pretty you make it.” He wants to know, “Did they identify critical issues you have been focused on or, did they uncover a new idea or direction?”

He suggests scoring the submitted questions and if all the “questions sound like the top ten things you’ve been grappling with in the last six months, get them in.”

This simple yet powerful technique not only could speed up the hiring process, but it could make it incredibly richer and add value to your organization — before you even hire someone.

By having candidates pose questions you will gain an insight into their thought processes, what is of importance to them, and whether they are strategic or surface thinkers. You should quickly be able to tell if this is the type of thinking required for the position and for the team. Is this thinking congruent with the rest of the team, or could this person add that missing ingredient? Could this person stretch your current thinking? Help you solve a wicked problem or generate new ideas to move you forward?

Once you have identified those you want to meet with through their submitted questions, you are then going to be able to sit down and have a meaningful conversation. The candidate sitting across from you has spent time thinking about your organization and their role within it; they will likely have even more questions and may have some ideas or suggestions to offer.

This is UnScripted Interviewing. Challenging the candidates to ask you questions is one of the best interview innovations I have come across. It may allow you to hire the right person the first time. Wish I had used this technique when I was VP of HR, this could have saved a lot of time and energy in sourcing, selecting and ultimately in hiring.

To Interview Well – Get Asked Better Questions

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