Interviewing for the right person

A few weeks ago I published a post about how I am Building the right team with the right people (and also read Can you add the missing ingredients to my team?).

This post forms the next step to that.


So, the advert has been out and closing date has gone. We had 5 applicants in all – and there appear to be some real gems in there.

To make sure that I do appoint the right person, I’ve included a small test and preparation activity for the 3 shortlisted candidates to do.

Firstly, to cover the writing and publishing information for members of the public part of the role, I have asked the shortlisted candidates to bring 2 examples of previously published public communication materials that they have developed – which they will leave with the panel after the interview. This was I can do a bit of checking in to the examples provided.

And then to make sure that they really do “have the experience to show that they can analyse and make sense of complex, and sometimes contradictory, intelligence – including hard facts like data as well as soft facts like general comments and feedback” I have asked them to prepare to talk for 5 minutes as set out below –

“In preparation for the interview, please can you read through the attached information* and provide a 5 minute summary of what the information is telling you”

[* There are 14 A4 sides of information as a mix of data and feedback comments]

But, to take it to the next level, and to really make sure that that they do “have the personality that allows them to actively engage with, listen to and learn from people who are using our services – and then to be able to share that knowledge and intelligence with other people across the team and the department so we can do something with it”, I added a second part to that activity –

“– and then work with us to identify what we need to do with that intelligence” 

That means that as part of the interview we will spend around about 10 minutes working together to plan the “so what” part of it.

This way I’m hoping that I can identify who really understands what the information is telling them, who really can work with me as part of us becoming a great team, and who is really up for helping “the team to live, breathe and be our purpose – to inform, listen to and learn from users of services to help them influence and drive change in services, knowledge and behaviour.”

Here’s to progress.

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