Thursday, August 11, 2011

A review of "Who"

Your “so, tell me a bit about yourself” is never ever really finished; it is a living breathing thing….you. However, before you put the finishing touches on your “so, tell me a bit about yourself” and get ready to really run with it, I highly recommend that you have a look through the book “Who- the A Method for Hiring” by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.

"Who" is intended for people that are recruiting, as it is about a targeted, specific method that Smart and Street have developed for achieving a 90% success rate in identifying and hiring the right people. If you expect to be listening to “tell me” stories, then I highly recommend the book, as it is packed with a very sound methodology for hiring. However, even if you are only expecting to be telling, it is full of valuable insight into the mind of the person that is across the table from you, listening. It will give you insight into some challenging questions you might encounter, and things to include in and leave out of your “so, tell me”.

While the book seems slanted towards executive search, it matters not what level you operate at, as some principles apply at all levels. For example, in response to the (common) question “What accomplishments are you most proud of?”, “A Players tend to talk about outcomes linked to expectations, B and C Players talk generally about events, people they met, or aspects of the job they liked without ever getting into results.” Revisit your stories that underline your ‘tell me’. Are they general or specific? Do they demonstrate what you are telling about yourself.

The Smart/Street method also includes pointers for company personnel on speaking to a person’s references, as well as some rather pointed questions for interviewers to ask interviewees about what these references will say when called. Your “tell me” should be developed and implemented with the certainty that it will be verified and confirmed, at some point, by someone. Will your reference, mentor or friend have the same view of your essential self that you have? Will you “tell me” be confirmed, or denied?

The book also provides insight in to the ‘telephone interview’; the first of the four Smart/Street interviews is a screening interview, by phone. Interestingly, I have noticed that more companies are using this first screen, which is often a very targeted set of questions. In a telephone call, you may not get an invitation, “so, tell me a bit about yourself “ however, I have found in these more direct (and shorter) telephone interviews that my responses come from the same source as my “so, tell me a bit about yourself”.

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