Panel Interviews – The Firing Squad Principle

A few months back, I wrote a piece about those really awful panel interviews that some old-fashioned organisations and leaders continue to use. They work on the Firing Squad principle……5 or 6 interviewers versus one lonely, capable candidate!  My original article caused a stir and I was challenged by one of the squad to suggest an alternative.

Easy! Here goes:

Today, I suggest a five stage interview process, that would give strategic leadership candidates plenty of time to learn about the Organisation, while the Organisation also gets to know the candidate.

1.  A 30-minute video call or face to face with the CEO. This would enable learning about the key challenges and the importantly, the shared vision.

2.  A scenario-based project, linked to the vision. This would give the candidate a better sense of the role and the organisation a better sense of the candidate’s modus operandi.

3.  A strategic presentation about how the Leaders will support and impact the vision……delivered in a digital format to ensure she/he has the skills for today’s modern ways of working

4.  Three (separate) meaningful conversations with key stakeholders within the organisation. Make sure one of these conversations is someone at a more junior level in the organisation, because it’s interesting to see how candidates will engage at various levels.

Use Competency based questions – if you must!

These conversations can be competency based if you really must…. or more innovatively, a process for understanding and agreeing how the candidate will add value and work together with the stakeholder to achieve the vision.

This will ensure that the organisation avoids group think, that HIPPO moment (Highest Paid Persons Opinion) or pushes away creativity. We run sessions for those who interview leaders in smart skills that improve questioning,,,and listening skills too.

And if the candidate makes it through that and still wants the role:

5.  A back to the floor adventure, along with the CEO and another. Somewhere that all parties ca get to know one another’s style and cultural fit in a real life/work scenario.

This approach would help the candidate uncover the pattern of decisions that determines and reveals the organisations challenges, purpose and goals.  Altogether  much more exciting and useful journey for a strategic leader than a flippin’ panel interview!

Want us to run it for you, Margaret?  Get in touch.