Improve Candidate Quality by Asking Why?

Get Better Candidates by Asking This One Key Question

Hiring managers already know the kind of candidate they need.

She’s a database developer with PL/SQL, a creator and collaborator, someone who’s good on a team (but can also execute alone). She has three years writing stored procedures and another five doing SQL queries.

You can write a job description from that, right?

Of course you can, and the resulting candidate set will be a disparate smattering of far-flung folks, all of whom fulfill the criteria of the rudimentary job description… and only 10% of whom can actually do the job.

Why this dissonance? Why all this wasted time (for you and for the candidates), when “what skills” and “how much experience” is clearly outlined?

The problem isn’t knowing what you need – and how much of it you need – the problem lies in failing to ask: “why?”

Question: “Why do we need someone with PHP experience?”
Answer: “We need someone who can connect our PHP application to existing APIs quickly.”
Question: “Why quickly?”
Answer: “We have 30 days to get this project off the ground.”

This is part of the consultative approach Link takes to account management. By asking “why” – and by taking an active interest in our clients’ operations – we can get granular. We can identify candidates who have actually done this kind of work before – and under similar restrictions – so we’ll reduce the number of people needed to interview before finding the right match.

Without the “why,” asking for someone “with PHP experience” is apt to yield a lot of web and WordPress developers – front end folks who can handle a little business logic, but have never done the kind of API integration you’re looking for.

Would you rather have 30 candidates with PHP, or three candidates who’ve actually done API integration with PHP on a tight deadline?

Go that extra mile. Ask the right questions. Ask “why?” (and “under what constraints?” and “with what expected outcome?”).

You’ll save yourself a lot of headache later on.