At Smart Savvy, we’ve interviewed a lot of people over our 10 years (6000+). We maintain: no one has the potential to pull the wool over your eyes like a marketer. When we evaluate candidates, we adhere to the 20-60-20 rule. In the workplace there is generally a top 20%, a middle 60% and, unfortunately, a bottom 20%. With each interview, we are always looking to identify individuals who fall squarely within the top 20% of their field. Those who truly #StandApart.
When meeting with candidates, look beyond first impressions (the leading cause of hiring blunders) by performing a ‘deep dive’ through their career (scuba vs. snorkel). For the bulk of our interviewing, we focus squarely on contribution and results. Look for evidence of growth and professional proof to support claims of greatness. When you spot a pattern of concrete, quantifiable accomplishments, you will know that you are zeroing in on a #StandApart candidate.
Midway through our interviews, we reach a section that we often refer to as “The Humbling”. At this stage we ask two questions:
- What have you done that has had the most dramatic impact on your employer’s bottom line — Specifically, what have you done that has increased revenue, streamlined efficiencies or decreased expenses for your employer(s)?
- What have you done (throughout your career) that would cause you to #StandApart from other candidates who will be applying for similar roles?
Inevitably interviewees slip into describing the character traits that differentiate them from the pack. Although we are keen to learn who people are, at this stage of the interview we must remain focused on what they have done. You’d be surprised at how many ‘marketers’ have a difficult time articulating (much less quantifying) their contributions.
Here are a few signs that you are dealing with a #StandApart candidate:
- They have been assigned difficult tasks ahead of their time (and their peers)
- They have led cross-functional teams, with success
- They have (regularly) presented to company leadership
- They have been progressively promoted (and in some cases, rapidly)
- They are clearly identified as the “Go-To” and “Make It Happen” person on their team
- They know where they are headed and can articulate why they have changed jobs
- They have been re-hired by a former manager (people want them on their team)
- They have re-hired former team members (people want to be on their team)
Each interview is an investment. However the cost of a bad hire is huge — your credibility as a leader is also at risk. That’s why we suggest: invest in some scuba gear and you’ll be sure to reap the rewards. Saying that, you can always rent some from us.