part 2 - 5 rules - 1 interview

Probably worth starting by saying that interviewing someone well is harder than being interviewed well. I believe it can be complicated, daunting and in general I’m not so sure that very many people who do it, do it very well at all.

I think a few golden rules make sense, but perhaps a few “foundations” to think about before we get into the rules.

Firstly before you go anywhere near a human being you need to know, properly what you’re looking for. Going into an interview not knowing what you’re looking for is the most common and most damaging mistake.

The second most damaging mistake that you can make is to know the “sort” of person that you’re looking for. No no, no, no no. NO. This is SUCH a big mistake. Why? WHY? Because this is how you end up with a business without diversity. You will hire the person that is most like you or that you like the most. Actually “likeability” and “cultural fit” are one or two criteria in a whole world of things you need to think about.

Anyway, welcome to the ‘ranty’ blog. You can probably tell that I’m pretty into this subject (you’re reading part 2 of my first every 2 part blog).

So hang on a minute – Firstly you need to know what you’re looking for, Secondly don’t know what sort of person you want?  WHAT?!

Well, here’s the thing – when I say “know what you’re looking for” I’m talking about the role. KNOW the role that you’re recruiting for. Exactly what is this person going to be doing, what are the three absolute essential things that they are literally doing day to day? What would doing these things brilliantly look like? What would being just ok at them look like? What skills do I think this person will 100% have to have to do the role? What skills might they have that would make them extra-specially good at the job?

Write these things down. Yes? Yes?! Right this stuff down, on a sheet or paper, with a pen. Take the piece of paper into the interview with you. Look at it during, maybe even make some notes on it.

Ok, we’re into rules now.


Write down a list of skills that this person will need to do this job


Write down a list of skills that this person could have that would make them extra specially good for the job.


Do not make up your mind on the person you’re interviewing during the interview (or as I think most do at the very beginning of the interview). This is such a key one. Sitting in the interview wondering if this person is right for your job or not is bad interviewing. Sit in the interview assessing the person’s capability to do the job at all, well, really well or exceptionally.


Have an open mind

Right, this one needs a bit of an explanation, because, well, it’s not really a switch that you can turn on and off. So how do you “have an open mind”? How do you make sure you have an open mind? Honestly, you start by actually doing rule 1,2 & 3. Why does that help? Because it keeps your mind focussed on the right aspects of the interview. Other things that might help? Well, try saying to yourself “I’m going to keep an open mind during this interview”.


Rule number five is “make sure you have a rule five”. So, it’s kind of the one that I suppose you can take or leave, but I’d say it’s the one that will make you sure about your hire. For example, a rule five might be – I want this person to be really reliable. I think that the secret ingredient to someone doing this role really well is them being completely trustworthy, never late, detail oriented and someone everyone will trust quickly, So once you’ve assessed all the actual skills and capabilities for them to do the job you’re now able to assess them for the extra personality/cultural bit.

You’ll have noticed that throughout this blog I talk about capabilities and skills. I have also hammered the point about knowing what it is you’re looking for and being prepared. But I’ve not gone into really any detail about cultural/personality fit. Want to know why? Because this is the stuff that EVERYONE does naturally. It’s impossible not to assess people for cultural fit. It’s impossible not to make judgements on how likeable someone is, how well they’ll fit into the team.

Of course there’s loads to interviewing well but actually, simplifying this, being clear about what the role is, assessing people against some clear responsibilities and staying open minded should mean you build a great team.

But if you take simply one thing from this blog – know the role you’re interviewing for really well would be the key.

End of part 2