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The Just Like Me Complex: How to Use Interview Training to Effectively Interview Candidates

October 25, 2011

You’ll be a great fit – you’re just like me!

Here’s the scenario – in walks a candidate for a newly vacant marketing position with ABC Corporation.  ABC Corporation has yet to implement a corporate wide, standardized behavioral interviewing program, so Jim (the hiring manager) is interviewing Frank (the candidate) using the unstructured process that he’s used in the past (which is why there is a newly vacant position – the previous employee wasn’t a good fit). 

Jim – So, Frank, it says on your resume that you received your Masters from OSU, is Professor James still there?

Frank – Wow, how do you know Professor James?  He was my advisor and is a great guy.

Jim – I also received my Masters from OSU and he was my advisor way back when.  He is a great guy and is actually the reason I decided to pursue employment here at ABC Corporation.  Man, the basketball team is looking good this year; they have a shot at winning the conference.

Frank – They sure do…I actually was a three year letterman on the OSU basketball team.

At this point, Frank is in.  Jim has already made his mind up that Frank would be a great fit at ABC Corporation because he went to OSU and he played basketball there.  While Frank may very well be a good candidate, Jim has no idea what his past work experience is, if he would fit within the culture of ABC Corporation or if he’s even competent enough for the Marketing position.

This scenario plays out at companies all too often.  Untrained hiring managers make “gut” decisions about candidates only to find out a few months later that they aren’t a good fit.  This costs the company time, money and opens them up to legal risk due to the unstructured and unvalidated interview.  If organizations do nothing else in their hiring process, they must implement a behavioral interviewing program.  There are a number of solid options available and most good ones have an online component to help save time and money when training hiring managers.

Take a few minutes to evaluate your current interviewing process.  If it isn’t a structured, behavioral based program, take the time to research and find one today.

The Ultimate Hiring Manager’s Guide

TJ Muehlfeld