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3 Hour Interview

Can you imagine taking three hours to interview a candidate for a position in your business? What could you possibly discuss for three hours? 
I recently had the opportunity to interview three sales prospects for one of my clients. In our Rockefeller [Gazelles] coaching habits we urge our clients to use Topgarding for their recruiting and hiring strategy.  We both engaged in Topgrading interviews, and believe it or not we interviewed the same candidates for 3 or more hours each. That’s right 3 or more hours! 
There are a number of steps to the Topgrading process; however at its core is the effective interview process. Prior to the grueling 3 hour interview, each of our three candidates had to go through a screening process. It started with submitting a job history as part of their application and included a screening interview which identified them as possible “A” players. You don’t want to spend 3 hours with a candidate who may not be an “A” player if you can possible avoid it. 
Once the screening process reveals that the candidate is in all likelihood an “A” player, the interview is conducted. Are you still questioning what can you do for three hours in an interview? Most businesses have difficulty interviewing someone for 30 minutes let alone 3 hours. They simply run out of things to question. That’s true only if you limit the scope of your interrogation.
Topgrading interviews are meant to review every position the candidate has had to discover what their expectations were, how well they performed, who their supervisor was, what kind of boss they were, and finally how their supervisor would have graded the candidate on their performance, strengths and areas for improvement.
There are a series of other interview questions as well, and it includes doing a very similar pattern of questions with the candidate starting with their high school and college history. 
Why does Topgrading spend so much time reviewing work history? If you know anything about interviewing you know that the only predictor of future achievement is past performance.    It’s critical to know what a candidate has done in the past in order to understand how they will perform in the future. 
Will your candidate allow you to spend 3 hours interviewing them? Only if you warn them in advance that’s the procedure they are required to submit to if they are interested in the position. In the cases we did I found only one candidate who didn’t withstand the rigors of the interview process, and that was possibly due to it being a phone interview and the distractions from his home may have disturbed his concentration. 
Does it pay to interview every candidate for each job function in your business? Unlikely, just pick those positions in your business that are important, and make sure you do the Topgrading three hour interview withonly those .  You do have some positions in your business that are unimportant don’t you?   I didn’t think so!    Reality suggests that some positions are more important than others and that part time positions may not require the thoroughness that Topgrading requires.
Imagine spending three hours interviewing some of the employee mistakes you made in the past. Do you feel if you’d spent three hours or more with them exploring their past history of job performance you would have made the same mistake in hiring them? It’s literally impossible for a candidate in a three hour interview not to reveal who they really are. They will let their guard down several times and in those moments you will discover who they truly are. You will need to be aggressive in exploring when they made mistakes and how they accepted responsibilty for them.
Making mistakes hiring the wrong person is costly. In the present environment it could ruin a business. Consider the Topgrading process crucial to your next recruitment and hiring situation.
In the next several blogs we’ll look at several of the other steps in the Topgrading process including conducting a talent review of your team, creating scorecards for each position, why building a virtual bench is so important, and the three different types of interviews in the Topgrading process.

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Positioning Systems helps business owners and entrepreneurs transform their business.   We provide the tools and coaching to help you take control of your business -- rather then having your business control you.