Over the past 15 years since I’ve been involved in hiring, I have conducted several thousand interviews and personally delivered a few hundred job offers. Through this experience, I’d like to share my thoughts on the common things that I look for when I meet new job applicants.
Ability to Prioritize
We typically spend at least 15 minutes in one of our interviews on a single scenario question. We list seven or so tasks and ask the applicant to rank them in order of what they would do first, second, third, and so on. More importantly, we want to hear what questions they ask while trying to gather additional information that would help them rank the tasks, and also think out loud about their assumptions and methods for assessing each task. Being able to prioritize is a real skill, requiring you to gather and sort through a lot of facts and draw from past experiences. We also want to see how priorities can be adjusted when new information or new tasks are introduced.
In any service-focused business, we need to be able to communicate and relate to others. There are frequently times when we have to explain something complicated or provide background, and we are always building or nurturing relationships with our customers. We all respond in profound and deep ways to storytelling. We are looking for relatable hires, and one thing we look for is someone who understands how to keep their audience’s interest by explaining something technical in an accessible way. Personally, I’m a sucker for great metaphors!
Customers expect us to show our creativity and bring additional tools and insights into a problem. Google is accessible to everyone, and while there is a real skill to being able to effectively search and analyze the results, our customers likely have already tried to look up a solution on their own before they reach out. The only way we can continue to delight our customers is if every team member brings their own techniques and strategies together to solve problems. We often ask a new hire multiple questions that explore aspects of their innate abilities to puzzle out solutions.
We’ve joked that we’d love to incorporate an Escape Room into our hiring process. But since that requires a lot of coordination, we try to tease out in our interviews how a prospective hire collaborates with others. The challenges of IT today require being able to bring multiple minds together in a productive way. We notice whenever the answers given to our questions seem to always involve pronouns like “I” and “me” instead of “we” and “us”. We also ask questions that can help us determine when the potential candidate will ask a teammate for help, escalate, or otherwise stop trying to go-it-alone and bring in a friend.
Who wouldn’t want to hire skilled talent with the abilities to prioritize their workday, communicate well in relatable stories, demonstrate their resourcefulness in solving problems, and work well with others with a team mentality?
Are you interested in learning more about the value of a career at Net Friends? Check out our Career page for more information about available positions!