Mission-Driven Organizations Should Interview to Their Core Values
It’s certainly no revelation that effective interviewing skills can help any organization identify, hire and retain great leaders. It’s an imperative skill that any executive team should learn and improve upon. Creating an effective interview strategy is not only important for the organization to gain the needed insight into the right candidate but is equally important for the candidate so they come away engaged, energized about the opportunity and educated about the role.
Preparation is key. Nonprofit organizations should make sure that their hiring committee and anyone else who will be meeting with candidates has an agenda for every interview that occurs. That agenda should include open ended questions that have been prepared beforehand that delve into the candidate’s background as it relates to the role AND to the organization’s core values.
This is important for many reasons. First, not everyone is a skilled interviewer. By preparing questions prior to the interview you can avoid asking that dreaded “So tell me about yourself” question that leads to little substantive information.
Secondly, by preparing as a group and determining the questions that are being asked, you avoid having two or three interviewers ask the candidate the same question in multiple interview sessions. This will not only allow for more informative sessions, but it will also give the candidate a more positive experience. No one wants to be asked the same question multiple times.
Also, by making sure you are asking the same questions to each candidate that is interviewed, you are building a structured data set of information that allows you to compare candidate qualifications fairly and equally and then making a more informed hiring decision.
So, what are the key questions interviewers should be asking?
In short, their focus should revolve around their organizations core values and the traits that align to those values. They are the cogs that drive your strategy. All key interview questions related to leadership, operations, fundraising, etc. can be tied to your organization’s principles and what makes you successful.
I’ve just skimmed the surface of what needs to be done to interview effectively. Many people feel interviewing is their strength and they ‘can just tell when someone is a fit’. But your organization’s investment in the interview and hiring process is too great to rely on someone’s gut feeling. Hiring the wrong person can cost you much more in the long run than taking the time and energy up front to make sure you’re on target with your interview process. Any organizational investment in the interview process is invaluable to building stronger teams and advancing your goals.