Talent Acquisition Strategy-

it’s what every company wants, but many have a hard time defining.

You’ve followed our advice on building a talent pool and now you’re on to interviewing. Sometimes during an interview, you’re positive you’ve found it; only to find out after hiring that you didn’t. Other times you think you might be seeing it during the interview, but you’re not sure. So what kind of talent acquisition strategy can you use to ensure you’re getting the talent you’re looking for? Simple, just take the interview process outside of the box.

Take the interview process out of the box. That sounds catchy, but what does it mean? Basically it means going beyond the standard interview questions – doing something different, asking something unexpected. Something like:

• Pausing Between Questions – Sometimes called “listening slowly”, this technique simply involves waiting. Ask the question, get an answer, and then wait a few seconds before asking the next question. Usually the prospective employee will fill in the gap with more information, sometimes surprising you with the results.

• Asking Unusual Questions – Another useful talent acquisition strategy for uncovering high performers is to follow Microsoft’s example and ask some unusual questions – not questions that contain random unusualness, but ones that give you an insight into a characteristic you’d like the employee to have. Want to know how observant the candidate is? Ask her to describe the foyer of the office she just walked through. Want to know how logical vs. impulsive he is? Ask him to name three things he’d take with him to the moon. His wife, his dog, and his favorite book aren’t going to be nearly as helpful there as a spacesuit, an oxygen tank, and rations.

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• Making Use of Puzzles – Presenting prospective employees with a puzzle to solve is another useful technique that your talent acquisition team can employ. The goal here is to see how they reason things out, so the puzzle could be something theoretical that has no set solution (How would you move Mount Fuji?) or based on a real-life situation. (Last year we faced a problem. How would you have handled it?). As part of Microsoft’s talent acquisition strategy, it also pioneered this type of interview tactic, and indeed published a best-selling book entitled “How would you move Mount Fuji?”

• Switching Roles – Putting the candidate in the role of interviewer and allowing her to ask you questions about the company can help you get a feel for how bold she is. Asking him to give you a sales pitch about the company can give you an insight into how much preparation he’s put into the interview. Both can be useful in your search for the right candidate.

• Leaving the Office – Or in other words, literally climb out of the box to do the interview. Conducting it in an expected place – like over lunch, during a stroll around the park, while you play a round of golf – can give you insights into the candidate’s personality that you would never get under more traditional conditions.

As you can see, talent acquisition strategies aimed at helping you find the talent you need don’t have to rely on yesterday’s standard questions. Those questions are important and should be asked; but after that, the sky’s the limit – literally.

What questions do you find most useful? Please share below!

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