The higher you go
the more acting you will see

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, March 3 and 4, 2012

How do you get candidates to give you relevant information?

By using a structured interview format. Just going with the flow of what the candidate tells us will not get us the relevant insight. A lot of candidates tend to not always be to the point. That means we have to politely interrupt and ask them to be concise. In my experience a set of key questions has been most helpful to make sure I ask all the candidates the same questions in order to be able to compare their answers.

So you do some serious probing?

Absolutely. If someone for example says that he is a good manager because he works very closely with his people then I have to dig deeper for details and specific data points that support such a claim.

What else would you ask this "good manager"?

I would ask for more examples . Situations that proved to be difficult where it was not feasible to involve the employees right away. How did he communicate? How did the employees react to not being in the loop? And each answer may lead to another specific question – until I have a full picture of the candidate.

Have you been able to "unmask" many candidates then?

The higher you go in the hierachy the more acting you will see in an interview. Regular employees are less versed to put on a bit of a show than senior managers. I don´t "unmask" candidates but it is my job to look beyond the surface when certain statements don´t fit.

Is the "chemistry" between the hiring manager and the candidate not of importance?

It is important to a degree. I once hired a person knowing that the necessary chemistry was not there between the two of us.I regretted it later because it just did not work out.

Interview by Sven Astheimer.