Today a young man walked into my office filled out an application to be a laborer/carpenter assistant and asked if there was someone around he could talk to. I happened to be available, so I interviewed him on the spot. It was a good interview, more of a discussion than an interrogation with a dialogue going back and forth about his background and skills and what Moceri Construction offers to our team members. After the meeting I got to thinking about why I walked away from this interview feeling so positive when often it this not the case. Many interviews are awkward with no flow. There are uncomfortable pauses in the discussion leaving the individuals involved wanting nothing more than for the interview to end so that they can go their separate ways.
I am in an interesting role where I interview people often to see if they will be a good fit with our team and I have interviewed people for all sorts of different roles with our various businesses. The flip side to this is I am interviewed by potential customers multiple times a week every week and just like when I am the interviewer some of them are great and others are not.
So, what leads to a successful interview? The young man today was not overly qualified, I didn’t have brilliant questions prepared yet it worked. What we did have was a little common ground. We have a mutual family friend who was one of his references, he grew up working construction for his Grandfather like I did with my Dad, and we both have an interest in fitness which we discovered because of his kinesiology degree. With a few things in common the conversation flowed smoothly and not only did we cover the basics of qualifications and work description but we both got a feel for whether working together would be an enjoyable experience. When I am the interviewee finding at least one thing in common can change the whole dynamic. It’s not that I know my business better from one day to the next or that the questions are drastically different, it’s that the common interest gets you to the important part of the interview which is finding out if a working relationship will be successful. Obviously the more standard part of the interview is important to make sure the interviewee is qualified, and the interviewer can provide their end of the relationship. However, without getting to the next level and finding that you can work together the other pieces may be a perfect match yet the relationship will not be successful.