Random Thoughts on Life and Work

March 5, 2011

When Too Many Are Involved . . .

Filed under: Non-Profit,Philanthropy,Strategy — Darren Mullenix @ 8:41 am

Had an interesting experience a few days ago that I thought I would share.  I’m still working through the thought process and haven’t completely decided if I am irritated or just shrugging my shoulders.

We brought in a guy to interview for a development position that we have open.  The position is a bit of a hybrid as it has to work within the development office but also interface with one of the specific ministry areas.  So the interview process is a bit weird to begin with.

The schedule was set for the day with the candidate meeting with different small groups of staff.  Now here is where it got strange.  The first meeting, which I was part of, was set with three of the development team and one person from our HR department.  Doesn’t sound too bad yet.  A couple of opening questions from the HR person.  Not too bad still.  More questions from the HR person.  And more.

And as he kept asking questions, he lead into areas where he really has no expertise and background.  I think overall, the development staff, who will have to work with the candidate, got about three questions in during the hour that we met.

I spoke afterwards with at one of the other development staff in the meeting and he expressed the same frustration.

Some suggestions for interviewing prospective staff:

  1. Set up a schedule that make sense, taking into consideration the nature of the position for which the candidate is being interviewed.
  2. Compartmentalize.  Allow the working team to meet with the candidate.  If other departmental areas will be meeting with the candidate, do that on their own schedule.
  3. Spend adequate time on a debrief afterwards.  Thoroughly discuss strengths and weaknesses that different members of the working team discover.
  4. Develop some baseline questions but allow the discussion with the candidate to flow in what I would call “directed natural” conversation.
  5. Make sure the staff who are involved in the interview process are appropriate for the level of candidate (i.e.  a receptionist should probably not be involved in the interviewing a vice-president).  That seems like a “duh” statement but you’d be amazed at what some people think is an appropriate 360 interview.

Actually, truth be told, I am a bit annoyed about the process this week.  I realize, in this situation there was much happening behind the scenes that many of us weren’t aware of.  But I hate wasting my time!


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