I read an amazing article today about the interviewing process of another IT company.  They call their process “Extreme Interviewing”.  Here is a little exert from that article.

Sheridan: My advice is to hire for talents rather than skills, build an environment where skills can be learned and reinforce the culture you are trying to build in the interview process itself. Too often, our industry hires for exact skill matches. I often counsel new college graduates to avoid these kinds of employers, as the message is clear: “We are unwilling to invest in you.”

Babik: Absolutely. Don’t focus on what they already know. Focus instead on whether or not they exhibit a life-long love of learning. Are they eager to learn new things? Are they excited? In today’s fast-paced society, the ability to adapt to change is paramount for success.

I know the initial interviewing process that I conducted with my team could definately use work.  It is so hard to sit down with someone, and with just a few questions or event hours, be able to hone in on their skills and personality.  I was fortunate enough to have selected some of the best designers and programmers.

I have always believed in investing in people.  If you invest in them, they will invest in you.  You will help them become even better and they will work harder for you.  However, I’ll save my team building philosophy for later.  I’d like to focus first on the hiring process.

Here are some of the steps I’ve implemented in the past.
HR does character interview and issues test.
The test was a very basic test that only covered some of the day to day tools that the position would need.  The test is not designed to trick or stump the user, but just to make sure that the prospect was truthful and that they really do know the tools that they claimed.
After reviewing HR’s assesment and the test results, we are normally able to filter out the applicants that are thinking that they are going to “try something new”, and I’m able to move on to personal interviews.

During the personal interview, I try to get the applicant very relaxed.  Most people are very nervous during an interview, so their answers won’t be completely truthful.  They will try to tell you the answers that they think that you want to hear, instead of what they truely feel.  It is very important that you can get them to relax.  Note that this does not mean to compromise your position or professionalism.  The interview focuses on their ability to support their colleges and to find the solutions to new challenges.

This is also a great time to get a feel for what their expertise is.  I normally will ask about some of their past projects and which ones they enjoyed the most and of course which ones they disliked and why.

This is a great opportunity to feel out an applicant to see what they enjoy and where they would like to grow.  The direction that they want to grow in will tell you how long they will be with you.  While this method has worked for me, and I have been extremely lucky that I have found some amazingly talented people, I have always wanted to find a new way to sort through the applicants.

Extreme Interviewing could be a good way to find the right employees.  I’d be intrested to speak with some hireing managers that have tried it. 

Feel free to email me interviewing methods that you have liked and seen work.