Hire for Success

Questions to Ask When Interviewing Your Next Key Leader

How do you know if you are hiring the right people for your organization – people who will help you go places and motivate others to do the same?

What questions should you be asking in an interview to be confident that you are hiring the right person for your organization?

These are excellent questions that every hiring manager should be asking if you intend to hire smart.  Finding someone with an impressive resume, filled with a list of achievements is a great start, but it’s only a start.  Candidates need to be screened for more than their competencies.

Hire for More Than a Set of Competencies

If your corporate culture is nothing like the culture a high-achieving leader excelled in, then hiring that high-achiever may not bring you the same results.

There are many factors that work together to bring out the best in people.  Knowing what makes a person most effective and knowing if those components exist in your organization is key to hiring the right person.

interviewSo where do you begin?  How do you really get to the heart of a person’s success and know if that can be duplicated in your organization?

Mike Sipple Jr., President of Centennial, discusses this topic with Doug C. Brown on this episode of the CEO Sales Strategies podcast.  Mike has been in the recruiting business for over 20 years and has been a part of countless interviews and hiring processes. The podcast episode is a great dialogue with helpful tips for hiring your next executive.  Let’s look at some key takeaways from this conversation:

Know How Your Corporate Culture Influences Effectiveness

Just because a person is an A-player in one culture and environment doesn’t mean that you are going to be able to unlock that same potential when they join your organization.

People perform well for a reason.  It is important that you know the reasons for someone’s high performance before you hire them. Find out what kind of environment is ideal for them to perform at their best.  People need the right support, the right motivation and most importantly they need to be aligned to your strategy. All these pieces need to be in place for a person to perform at their best.

Ask Interview Questions that Reveal the Best Culture for your Candidate

Find out in the interview process if the person you are considering is a good fit for your organization.  Ask insightful questions to reveal the factors that bring them success.  Measure those factors against what is true of your organization.

Interview questions we recommend include:

  1. What do you believe has made you most successful?
  2. What did your support team look like?
  3. What processes were in place that allowed you to do your best work?
  4. How did you optimize your strengths and manage your weaknesses in your last position?
  5. What motivates you?

Another best practice for interviewing is to always ask all the candidates the same questions to provide an equal playing field.  Consistency is critical when you are choosing between top candidates.

Be Future-Focused when Interviewing

To get the right people on your team, think beyond today.  Be aware of what has worked in the past but think critically about what is needed for the future.  If companies only look at the immediate problems, they are not preparing for what they are trying to create. What is your 3-year plan and your 5-year plan?

Hire for the future.  If you hire for where you’ve been, you will get frustrated when no one is helping you get to the future.

Include Your Team Before You Hire

Before you hire, sit down with your leadership team and talk about what your organization needs to be successful in the near future.  What will help you get to your goals?  Discuss these gaps with your team to build clarity and alignment.

After you identify the needed skills and strengths, do some internal assessment and alignment to see what your top employees have to say.  Find out what has made them successful.  Use these discussions to get clear about what you are offering to a new hire – the environment, the processes, the culture, and the behaviors that you know are most successful in your organization. Take the time to plan.

Taking the time to create alignment and buy-in across the organization and within the specific function you are hiring for will help you go after the right person.  As a natural benefit, once the person is hired, they will have an easier time onboarding and assimilating into their new environment because the current employees will be eager to help.  They have been part of the process and are ready to see the new person step in and fill the gaps.

Hire for Success

Hiring smart requires looking deeper than just competencies.  Being able to tap into people’s potential is exciting, but you need to know what that looks like before they join your team.  As an executive search firm, Centennial makes this a high priority.  We want our clients and candidates to be successful and that can only happen when a multitude of success factors are considered.  Our 4C Recruiting Process® is our tool for making sure that happens. Let us know if there is more you need to know about hiring the right people for your leadership team.

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