Successful interviewers use probing questions to guide an interview, thereby ensuring that personal perception does not distort the interview process. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg News
Successful interviewers use probing questions to guide an interview, thereby ensuring that personal perception does not distort the interview process. David Paul Morris / Bloomberg News

Skilful interview lifts odds for jobseekers

When they flip a coin and get what they had hoped for, many consider themselves lucky.

The same is also true in recruiting "all-star" employees.

Research shows that interviewing a successful candidate is similar to flipping a coin, resulting in a 50/50 chance of a positive outcome.

It is shocking that many seasoned and accomplished executives face such low odds when they set out to select the right team for success.

The most obvious reason for this is what happens - or does not - during the interview.

Not long ago, I was speaking with a group of leaders from across the region concerning hiring and firing. Since I am not a recruitment specialist, I was thinking about our conversation from a leadership point of view.

I made the point that building a team is much like a coach selecting players to be on a pitch: after I outlined what a coach looks for in his players, one of the leaders asked: "How are we supposed to do that in 10 minutes?"

That leader clearly articulated the reason that a team's success rate can be so low: the problem lies in spending only minutes on an interview. This is risky.

As a leader, do you feel confident making this bet in only a 10 minute-interview, or in one lasting even an hour?

Unfortunately, many executives do, and they end up making their decisions on intuition.

They are swayed because the applicant enters the room with a smile, by how articulate he is or even by the person's humour. While these qualities are nice in a social setting, you need to be rigorous in the interview process.

It is more than the intangible "feels right".

There are certain skills to look for when recruiting a leader into your organisation. In a successful interview, you need to be able to articulate what you are looking for in each of the following areas:

Ÿ Understanding the technical background

Ÿ Gaining behavioural insights

Ÿ Quantifying leadership success

Ÿ Predicting future potential

Ÿ Discussing team fit

Ÿ Inferring coachability

This requires preparation for the interview. Successful interviewers use probing questions to guide the interview in the aforementioned areas, as this ensures that gut instinct does not distort the interview process.

One last insight is to have a rating system to quantify impressions. Perhaps the most important thing to do when hiring a leader is to avoid fixating on the technical aspect but rather probe the other aspects, specifically how the candidate has delivered results through others.

Since it is a leader's job to get work through others, leaders who come from technical backgrounds have to be able to demonstrate how they have done this before.

Building a great team is not for the lazy. Being objective, rather than subjective, and improving your interviewing success rate is not hassle-free. It requires much more work than a 10-minute or even one-hour interview, but the success rate can be improved substantially.

Tommy Weir is an authority on fast-growth and emerging-market leadership, the author of The CEO Shift and the managing director of the Emerging Market Leadership Center

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Fresh faces in UAE side

Khalifa Mubarak (24) An accomplished centre-back, the Al Nasr defender’s progress has been hampered in the past by injury. With not many options in central defence, he would bolster what can be a problem area.

Ali Salmeen (22) Has been superb at the heart of Al Wasl’s midfield these past two seasons, with the Dubai club flourishing under manager Rodolfo Arrubarrena. Would add workrate and composure to the centre of the park.

Mohammed Jamal (23) Enjoyed a stellar 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League campaign, proving integral to Al Jazira as the capital club sealed the championship for only a second time. A tenacious and disciplined central midfielder.

Khalfan Mubarak (22) One of the most exciting players in the UAE, the Al Jazira playmaker has been likened in style to Omar Abdulrahman. Has minimal international experience already, but there should be much more to come.

Jassim Yaqoub (20) Another incredibly exciting prospect, the Al Nasr winger is becoming a regular contributor at club level. Pacey, direct and with an eye for goal, he would provide the team’s attack an extra dimension.

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