A client of mine has recently interviewed for a Managing Director role for one of their Building Product Manufacturing businesses. Having experienced 20% year on year growth over the past eight years, they were looking for a leader to take up the next five year phase to their growth. This included building a togetherness amongst a recently assembled board.
At final selection stage we've all been there, either as a candidate or as part of the interviewing panel deciding who to plump for. No doubt you've been in the position of bastardising a well recycled PowerPoint presentation on how you're going to drive the prospective employers strategic challenge, or what your first 90 days (or six months) is going to look like.
Not that there's anything particularly wrong with this but it has become a little formulaic. I liken it to when I ask the common or garden interview question, "How do you build engagement in a new direction within your team?". Most of the time this leads to a string of clichéd answers that we've all heard before (but not all the time).
Back to the client who's interviewed for the MD role. Having been through two rounds of more conventional interviewing, the group board invited the preferred candidates back to the main site, got them to signed non disclosures and then presented to them their five year vision of what they expect the individual business to achieve. Thereafter the candidates have had the opportunity to throw questions at the individual board, together with two of the parent companies directors, thus creating debate.
This has given both the boards and company's directors with the opportunity to witness how they gel with each candidate throughout the interaction, whilst seeing how intelligent their questions and observations are.
Really rather different and the feedback from both candidates and the interview panel (of which there are seven individuals) has been hugely positive on the interactions.
The executive engaged in the normal conduct of business devotes much of his time to interviewing. However, there is an appalling lack of effort given to systematic attempts at building improvements into this age-old process. Interviewing remains one of those activities which we think we know all about merely because we have been doing it so long; we have been lulled by habit. It seems apparent that a modest effort aimed at an analysis of our interviewing techniques would yield generous returns.