Search This Blog

Monday, December 24, 2012

Interview Strategies - part I

Recruiting a product manager is a big task, and a challenge that has taught me quite some interesting ways of assessing candidates and making sure that I pick the best fit candidate for my requirement. Going through large number of CVs, shortlisting and interviewing is a tiring processing and without having proper strategy, accuracy of judgement will be low.

How to I judge a candidate, how do I differentiate between what a candidate pretends to be vs how he is. From my recent experience, I have realized that having a strategy to interview candidates is non-negotiable. While I continue to learn and improvise on my strategies, here are some ideas I found useful to judge a candidate's fit into the role.

Start with yourself, have clarify in Job description and know your preferences before you start looking into CVs shared by recruitment team. Make sure you are clear of expectation from the candidate and are sure of candidate's growth path in the company. Interview is a two way process, while you assess candidate, candidate too assess company and people with whom he interacts during the course of interview. Be clear with what is that you are offering to a candidate and what is a good reason for him to join you.

Scan CVs patiently, spend extra time to understand strengths and roles preferences of a candidate. Read out CV 2 to 3 times to get clarity on what candidate values. Learn about key  initiatives and accomplishments of the candidate at work. A good candidate would have remained for decent tenure (subjective, difficult to quantify) in a company, and should not be a jumping jack. While candidates with the similar exposure may get initial advantage, do not bank to much on product managers from same domain. Outsiders inject innovation and are not bounded by the known limits of the trade. This is not that all tough but yes requires little extra time to have quality judgement or opinion of candidate.

Begin with Telephonic round. I recommend that you speak with a candidate for 30 to 45 mins over the phone before you decide to have face to face interview. Here are key objectives of telephonic round;

  1. Confirm your understanding of candidates
  2. Check for fundamentals 
  3. Check for Communication
  4. Assess Convincing ability
  5. Assess fit to role
  6. Clarify candidate on role, company and expectation
  7. Understand constraints if any from candidate's point of view

While on call with candidate  write down key points from discussion including your observation. Post call, spend 5 to 10 mins on determining the key take-away. Do this before you get into anything else and lose the feel of the interview. May be now take a call if you want to go ahead with next round of face to face interview or not. In case of a tie or a confusing state, I suggest give benefit of doubt to candidate and clear him for next round. I would highly discourage to have a second telephonic round with the candidate.

.......... In part II, will share my tips of conducting face to face interviews and some good techniques to judge a thought process of a candidate.

Related readings
  1. Evaluating a Product Manager
  2. Who is best fit for product manager’s position – IT DEPENDS
  3. Interviewing Agile Product Manager


No comments:

Post a Comment