Let's Consider Prosecution of the True Waterboarders - Those Who Go Negative in an Interview to Get the Info...
By now you've heard, President Obama is considering allowing the prosecution of the legal eagles who allowed aggressive interrogation techniques that some consider torture, but others consider necessary in a world gone mad.
I'm probably like the majority of America. I don't like the concept of torture, but I sure sleep better knowing that if we need to get info to prevent Charlotte from being ground zero for a dirty bomb, we can get it.
In short, I like to have some Jack Bauer types around. You never know when you need them.
Of course, there's a similar game going on inside your company right now with important, but obviously less severe consequences. It's called aggressive interviewing techniques. Most people don't teach them and wouldn't support them if they heard a Jack Bauer of the interviewing game use them. They'd say it's the equivalent of waterboarding in the recruiting scene.
But, like Jack, in the global terrorism scene, you need to find some CIA-type thugs who will do what's necessary for you to figure out if the candidate is the real deal. To really do that, you have to ask for negative information as part of the interviewing scene. Here are some thoughts about what that looks like in the behavioral interviewing scene:
--"That's good (referring to an answer), but it doesn't really answer my question. Tell me..."
--"I need more detail about what you did in the situation. What you're giving me is very high level, I need to dig into the details with you".
--"That happened a long time ago. Do you have a similar experience that's happened in the last year?"
--"Most of the examples you are giving me are team oriented. We value teams here, but for purposes of you being a candidate, I need to know what you did, not what the team did. Focus me on what you did".
--"That's a great example with a good outcome. Now tell me about a situation where you used a similar strategy but it didn't work out for you".
--"Tell me about a time where you've been fired or taken off a project due to your performance."
--"I'm struggling to understand the details of what you've done in these situations. Once you tell me about a scenario, start giving me deep, deep details of what you did, not what the team did, not what you usually would do in that situation, but what you actually did."
--"You keep telling me what you usually do in situations. I'm not interested in hypotheticals, I'm interested in what you have actually done."
I know, I know. That's not exactly waterboarding, is it? But here's the thing. At least 99% of your hiring managers and HR pros won't go negative on a candidate, even if the essence of what they are doing is asking the candidate to answer the question the way they need it answered. From the standpoint of interviewing, you need to change the culture of your interviewing process. It's good to be professional; it's good to develop rapport. Those are all things you need.
But, when you're not getting the info you need, you better have some Jack Bauers of interviewing who can pull the wiring out of the wall and do what it takes with the candidate to get what YOU need. It's what your company needs, and it can be accomplished without putting a single candidate's head under water. They may feel like that's happening because the technique is so rarely used, but it's not. It's OK to go negative, in fact, you're supposed to mix that in to get the best results for your company.
Or you can let the dirty bomb go off in Charlotte and deal with the sucky hire. It's up to you.