… give candidates the interviewing questions ahead of time.

I’ve written a number of books about hiring, Hire with Your Head and The Essential Guide for Hiring & Getting Hired, and a bunch of cool courses on LinkedIn Learning covering the basics of Performance-based Hiring.

One pretty controversial idea mentioned in these programs is the idea of conducting a two-way scripted interview to ensure the hiring manager accurately assesses the candidate’s ability to do the work; and fitting with the team, the hiring manager’s coaching style and the company culture. Pulling this off requires giving the candidate the questions ahead of time and the hiring manager or those on the interviewing team asking them.

Here’s how this process works.

First, you ask the candidate to prepare in advance a half-page write-up of two major objectives related to the position—one focusing on an individual contributor project and the other on a team project. Of course you need to tell the candidate what the two major objectives are as part of this. Our Performance-based Hiring ChatGPT bot can help develop these objectives as well as some of the associated interviewing questions. For example, one major objective could be managing a team to develop a new business intelligence dashboard combining CoPilot with Power BI, and the other could be developing new predictive analytical tools to increase sales forecasting accuracy.

Knowing what’s expected in the job ensures candidates are evaluated on their relevance and contribution to real job needs, pivoting away from the conventional emphasis on interviewing prowess or box checking their skills. While most of the assessment will be on the quality and depth of the candidate’s comparable accomplishments just as important is the quality of their preparation. This addresses motivation to do the actual work as well as the person’s written and verbal communication skills.

The structured nature of this interview process ensures that both parties—the candidates and the hiring manger—are on equal footing. By supplying the candidates with detailed information about the objectives of the open role, the methodology encourages a deep dive into their experiences, fostering a scenario where the discussion is rooted in concrete achievements and capabilities. This pre-interview submission of accomplishments, coupled with the candidate’s resume, equips the hiring manager or anyone on the interviewing team with a robust foundation for their inquiries.

During the interview, candidates are given the opportunity to elaborate on their submitted accomplishments, providing context and depth to their written summaries. This dialogue enables the hiring manager and interviewing team to probe further, asking targeted questions to clarify the candidate’s role, contribution, and impact. This thorough exploration helps in accurately gauging the candidate’s suitability for the position, based on their ability to meet the defined objectives.

The two-way scripted interview method is revolutionary in several ways. Firstly, it democratizes the interview process. By focusing on specific accomplishments relevant to the job at hand, it levels the playing field, ensuring that all candidates are assessed based on the same criteria. This approach significantly reduces the influence of unconscious biases that can cloud judgment, such as those based on a candidate’s appearance, background, or charisma during the interview.

This focus on evidence-based assessment aligns with the growing trend towards more data-driven decision-making in HR practices.

Secondly, this method places a premium on preparation and relevance, highlighting the importance of a candidate’s ability to contribute meaningfully to the team and organization from the outset. It shifts the focus from hypothetical scenarios and generalized responses to tangible evidence of past performance and success. This focus on evidence-based assessment aligns with the growing trend towards more data-driven decision-making in HR practices.

Moreover, the two-way scripted interview fosters a more interactive and engaging interview experience. By inviting candidates to discuss their specific achievements, it encourages a dialogue that is not only more informative for the hiring team but also more empowering for the candidates. This interaction provides a window into the candidate’s problem-solving approach, teamwork capabilities, and leadership potential, offering a holistic view that extends beyond the confines of a resume.

In essence, the Performance-based Hiring methodology’s two-way scripted interview represents a paradigm shift in talent acquisition. It underscores the significance of aligning candidate evaluation with the actual demands of the role, promoting a more equitable, efficient, and effective hiring process. As organizations continue to seek innovative ways to attract and retain top talent, methods like these, which prioritize fairness, relevance, and inclusivity, will undoubtedly become integral components of the recruitment landscape.