Coaching Tips for Interviewers

by Brian Skory

Not long ago I read an HR article that described how hiring managers should interview candidates. I thought the tips offered up in this article were quite interesting. Although it might be a bit like cheating on a final exam, I thought I would pass on some of that HR coaching to you, the candidate, so that you could better prepare for your interviews.

Coaching Tip for Interviewers #1
"Ask the candidate what their greatest career achievement was. This will really put them on the spot. Most candidates will flounder and talk in generalities about their skills or their past jobs. The candidate you want to hire is the one who can talk specifics about a project they were involved in, including how it generated revenue (bonus points for knowing how much), how it cut costs (bonus points again for knowing how much) or how it gave their company a technical advantage."

Coaching Tip for Interviewers #2
"Ask the candidate what the biggest mistake is that they ever made in their career. Most will shake their head in embarrassment and entertain you with a story that will likely make you cringe.

Nothing wrong with that—we've all made our share of mistakes—but the candidates you want to hire are the ones who then go on to say what they learned from their mistake, and what he or she changed as a result so that they became an even better software developer, project manager, or whatever the role happens to be."

Coaching Tip for Interviewers #3
"Ask the candidate what's good and what's bad about their current employer. There's a lot of punch packed in this one question. First, you'll discover what that candidate values in a boss. This can be very useful information. But what you're really looking for is the candidate who goes on to bad-mouth their boss by talking about all the things that are bad about their employer. If you value fostering company loyalty in your corporate culture, this is the candidate you do NOT want to hire, regardless of how good a developer they are."

Take a few extra minutes to prepare by giving some thought as to how you would answer these three questions, and maximize your chances of being the candidate of choice for that next position!
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