Recruiting season is underway and Seilevel as usual is going out looking for the best and brightest, and as we start looking for clever young graduates I started thinking about the perspective of an interviewer and interviewee.
Either as an interviewer or interviewee you are ultimately targeting the same objective, which is to hire a candidate or be hired, however communication between the two is often the biggest challenge. Neither party is looking at things from an elicitation perspective, meaning they are not necessarily actively looking for information, rather the interviewer asks a routine number of standard questions and the interviewee replies traditionally with boilerplate responses.
In these situations both parties treat the hiring process as a dance—I step forward then you step back—whereas both should be treating the interview as an elicitation session. If we look at it as we would interviewing a business stakeholder and trying to understand what their ultimate problem is and understanding what the objective is to resolve that problem then we can make equally significant strides in the interview process.
As an interviewer you should try and get to know your candidate, what are they looking for, what are their strongest attributes and where do they falter? Instead of saying “what are your greatest strengths?”, you can ask what do they enjoy doing or feel they do well and why. Breaking up a question and diving deeper can identify things that might indicate a candidate is a great fit or alternatively not at the right company.
On the other hand as an interviewee we have equally standard questions like “what is the company culture like”, which are not only boring but will not provide sufficient insight into the organization. A more interesting question to receive from a candidate might be, “so what might a day as a software product management consultant look like”, which may excite you or bore you.
Next time you go into an interview, remember to treat it as an elicitation session and gather the requirements of your candidate or potential employer.