Interviews are sort of like antibiotics.
Yes, they’re useful to bring great new people into your team. But it’s also important to use interviews to keep the bad eggs from spoiling your culture and productivity. And as with any antiobiotic-germ relationship, the germs are constantly developing resistance.
You can’t just ask the same old interview questions anymore. Your candidates are reading the same Inc, Entrepreneur, and Harvard Business Review articles you are. They’ve read the self-help books about leadership, management, and career advancement.
They know the right answers to all of the basic interview questions. (They’re on Google, after all).
They know that they should talk about how they believe in “servant leadership.”
They know that they should talk about how much they value “collaboration.”
They know that they should polish up some percentages to imply impact at past positions.
The really good companies understand this, which is why they’ve evolved to meet the challenge. When Google used to (apparently) ask questions like “How much should you charge to wash all the windows in Seattle,” they were likely doing it because the normal interview questions weren’t enough.
Now even those kinds of questions can be gamed.* Your candidates know that they should try to sound innovative and out of the box.**
If you want to 1) find good people and 2) keep the bad ones out, it’s up to you to develop interviewing as a skill – and to stay one step ahead of the job hunters. Keep developing new and better questions. Keep adding twists to the ones that you’ve used before. And pay attention to the questions and conversations that don’t seem to have easy answers, because that’s where you’ll learn the most.
*Interviews themselves might be doomed as a format for testing potential hires, but that’s another post.
**Interviews are also rather like Turing tests, with candidates mimicking the learning machines that can pretend to be human.