As the war on talent intensifies it is important to stay true to a rigorous interview process. When new college grads are being offered $150k starting packages by the latest hot social network it’s easy to get carried away.

How do you interview great candidates? Not perfect but here is a good checklist to cover the bases:

  1. Pull together a brief online profile of the candidate covering all the usual places they are likely to hang out including LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and their Blog. Look for a consistent voice as to who this person is. What are they proud of?  What tribes do they lead?
  2. Create a Performance Profile for the role that articulates the issues you are expecting them to handle and the performance that will be needed to perform the role well. Let them articulate how their experience matches the Performance Profile.
  3. Role play this specific role to try to really mimic how they might actually perform on Monday mornings. Depending on the job this may involve  several people acting out parts or it may be just a written test.
  4. Ask the candidate to perform both a numerical and written test with no preparation.
  5. Perform a Myers Briggs type assessment to understand the personality type you are about to hire. This will give interesting fodder for further questions.
  6. Have different interviewers ask the same questions for consistency of stories.
  7. Explore the strategic thinking behind every job move.
  8. If sales based role have her demonstrate examples of previous deals where she translated features and benefits into business results achieved by the customer.
  9. Ask him how he likes to me managed and why.
  10. Ask her how much she would like to be rewarded for the role, base, bonus, equity (if relevant) and why.
  11. Ask for a critique of how the company presents itself on the web.
  12. If possible invite several candidates into the business at the same time and have them meet as many people as possible.
  13. Explore three major achievements he is proud of and focus myopically on the individual candidates contribution down to the level of detail that suggests he had to be there.
  14. Remember when you are buying you are selling. Acquisitions or people. Why should she join your company? Cover what makes you special and explain in detail the training and ongoing mentoring that is part of your culture.
  15. Validate if possible from your network the candidates credentials prior to the first interview.
  16. Depending on role and seniority consider a social setting as part of the review process, function, dinner etc.
  17. Where important have the candidate call in to test their tone, pace, clarity on a call.
  18. Have the candidate present on their feet on a related topic even if only for 5 min.
  19. Have the candidate discuss any mistakes they have made in their career and how it turned into a learning experience.
  20. Ask the candidate if there anything you should asked her but didn’t.

Clearly the focus of the interview/discussion would be different for a CFO compared with a software architect but the structure holds strong in my view. The key is to ensure both parties are really mimicking the fit.
There are very few bad candidates that get interviews just good and bad fits.

Please add your own below.