Well, the obvious answer is “you are.” You’re conducting the interview and you’re the one in control.
You’ve got some questions you want to ask, you want to discuss a few points on the applicant’s résumé and you want to dig in a little bit here and a little bit there to get a good idea of the person sitting across from you.
So it makes sense that you are controlling the interview.
And giving the applicant the opportunity to ask you any questions that she’d like — that’s always a good idea and gives some of the control of the interview over to her.
But what if we were to go a step further? A big step further.
What if you said the following to your applicant:
“Alice, from your answers today, I’ve got some good information about you and that’s very helpful. At this time, I’d like to turn the control of the interview over to you. You have complete control of the interview for the next few minutes. Go ahead.”
What will Alice say? What will she do?
Even the most prepared applicant has likely not been asked to take full control of an interview. We’re asking Alice to think quickly on her feet. We may learn how she’ll deal with brand new situations at work where she has no prior experience or training.
We’re interested in how quickly Alice takes control of the interview, but we’re also interested in how intelligently and creatively she does so.
It’s certainly not the end of the world if Alice stumbles a bit here and there as this is a pretty unique request being made of her.
However, what if Alice goes right into gear and comfortably and competently controls the interview for the next few minutes?
I do believe you’ve learned something quite valuable about your applicant.
And that is always our purpose in the hiring interview.
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