Hiring Tip #1: Create Auditions

Auditions are an interviewing technique that lets you watch the candidate in action. Actors audition for parts, why shouldn’t technical people audition for their work?Here’s how to develop an audition:

  1. Define the behaviors you want to see in an audition. You can’t see everything about a person, just a 15-30 minute snippet, so define the behaviors you need to see. Sometimes you need to see debugging, designing, or testing behaviors. Sometimes you need to see facilitation and conflict resolution behaviors. For project managers, you may need to see how the PM juggles different requirements from numerous stakeholders. Think about the stresses of your organization and define the few behaviors you want to see.
  2. Think about how to create a work situation in which you can see the behaviors. For technical work, you can use a piece of your code or product for design, debugging, testing, writing, support behaviors. For more soft-skill behaviors, consider designing an experiential simulation, with the help of an expert. Unless you have experience designing simulations, don’t do this on your own.
  3. Try out the audition on someone already working at your company. Make sure they can complete the audition in half the allotted time. If it takes someone already familiar with your product or environment the full time to complete the task, a candidate will not be able to succeed.

Then you’re ready to use the audition on a candidate.When you give candidates an audition, explain the audition to them. Explain the idea of auditions in interviews, and that there is no pass or fail, you’re looking at how they work.

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