When I started procurement management consultancy The Faculty, I declared that I was building a culture, not a company.
Culture can’t be forced, but it also doesn’t happen organically. It stems from recruitment; it’s not always the best person, but the right person for the job that can help foster company culture.
Leadership experience, technical skills and cultural fit are all important here, so how can you recruit someone that ticks all three boxes?
From all my years of playing interviewer I’ve compiled five killer questions that separates the diamonds from the rough.
1. THE “TIPPING POINT” QUESTION –
“What were the reasons for leaving your current job?”
Asking a potential employee why they decided to leave their job provides good insight into what makes them tick. It also highlights their personality and gives you a definite indication of what they don’t want to happen in their new job. It’s also a good question to ask in exit interviews to ensure your business can learn from its mistakes.
2. THE “LEADER OF THE PACK” QUESTION –
“Tell me about something you’ve led – a group, a team, a movement, an initiative…any situation where you were in the lead?”
This question resulted in the most surprising interview response ever. When I first established The Source, my procurement recruitment company, I was interviewing for the Managing Director role. When I asked this question, one of the candidates paused and then answered, “I once led a revolt against management in a manufacturing company I worked for.” Wrong answer.
3. THE “MENTOR ME” QUESTION –
“Tell me about some people you’ve mentored and what they are doing now?”
If people stumble on this question, they obviously don’t have a track record in developing people. Furthermore, if they can’t talk to what their mentees are doing now, they really weren’t genuinely committed and interested in that person’s development enough to keep track of their progress.
4. THE “QUESTION” QUESTION –
“Do you have any more questions?”
I always want people to have LOTS of questions. And not just about them – their pay, their hours, the role and where they’ll sit – but about the business, about the industry, the issues we are facing, about our future. To be successful in any business, people need to be genuinely concerned about their profession or industry, not just their own career development.
5. THE “ONE WORD” QUESTION –
One of my mentors gave me this tip. One of her interview questions was:
“If your friends could summarise you in one word, what would that word be?”
This question is great because it allows the candidate to drill down to the one attribute they represent but also aspire to be. Want to hire someone who describes him or herself as “encouraging” or “meticulous”? Of course you do. Someone who describes him or herself as “Chatty” or “Brilliant”? Didn’t think so.
So you’ve asked your questions, the interview is complete and you look to move onto the next candidate. Before you do so, remember the final important step – reflect.
This was a key piece of advice I received from Marisa Menezes, Managing Director of The Source, who says that it’s important to reflect on the candidate’s responses and behaviour to help determine where they fit in the organisation.
Marisa says she always asks clients to consider their current and desired workplace culture, and think about how the candidate fits in.
To do this, I often ask myself:
•What were the energy levels like? Did the candidate have energy – physical, mental and spiritual (I know, sounds spooky…but think about it!)
•Did the conversation flow? Was the candidate both interesting and interested. Was I struggling to follow what they were sharing? Was the conversation stilted?
•Would the person be a good representative of the team? Here I’m talking about their values and approach, as well as the way they communicate and present.
With these interview questions in your repertoire plus some “reflection” time, you will be on your way to recruitment success.
Tania Seary is the founder of three procurement related businesses: The Faculty, a procurement management consultancy; its sister recruitment firm The Source; and Procurious, an online networking business for logistics, supply chain and procurement professionals.
This article originally appeared in BRW