The agile interview

John Dunnet Blog

The agile interview – demonstrate rather than tell.

A few years ago I became deeply dissatisfied by the interviews that were being conducted for a role we were hiring for. It was the same old thing, the standard interview questions were eliciting the standard responses, and not giving me the slightest idea whether the person could really do the job.

How do you know whether a person is right for the job?

How do you know whether a person is right for the job?

So in true agile fashion we failed fast, stopped doing what we were doing and had a rethink. I analysed the key elements of the job we were hiring for and then thought about how we could get the candidate to demonstrate that ability during the interview.

We took those elements and built an interview process so we got to see the person in action, doing bits of the job they would be hired for.

In this instance the role was for a facilitator, so the first twenty minutes of the interview was the candidate facilitating a session in which they taught us something in a practical way (the candidate was briefed beforehand).

It was simple. The existing team members were in the group that was being facilitated (and were a virtual interview panel). If the panel enjoyed the first twenty minutes, then the candidate was invited into a Q&A session. If not, it was a warm thank you for your efforts.

We have recently tailored this process for a customer delighting them and their candidates alike.

Think about a role that you are about to hire for. What are the key components of the job? How can you practically test those skills through an interview process? How can you make it a learning experience for the candidate, whether they get the job or not?