Most interview strategies were developed long before the “Internet” age when the speed of change in business was rather slow. However, if your business is in a rapidly-changing environment, you will need new tools that can tell you more about the future possibilities of a candidate than what they did years ago. Does your business require “outside-the-box” solutions that didn’t exist 3-5 years ago? Are you looking to excite applicants and send them a message that your firm is different? If so, you might consider a new approach to hiring called a “Fut R View.” What is a Fut R View? A Fut R View is an advanced interview technique for IT, product development, and other forward-looking jobs. In a Fut R View the focus is on assessing applicants’ new ideas and their competencies in planning, forecasting, and solving future problems your firm will face under the unique constraints of your culture and your business environment. Fut R Views work best for cutting edge jobs and for selecting innovators and the “very best” in their fields. They are not for every job. They can, however, be a supplement to existing interviews or used as a stand-alone tool. Fut R Views emphasize the forward-thinking whereas behavioral, as well as most other interviews focus on the past. Reasons for using a Fut R View to gain a competitive advantage in hiring:
- You can’t beat the competition in hiring the best candidates if you use the same tools as the competitors to screen your candidates.
- If you want to continually improve your selection process, you must try new tools to change your results. A Fut R View is another approach that will give significantly different answers and information than traditional interviews.
- Fut R Views excite and challenge “fast change” workers who need to be excited in order to accept a job. These fast-change types (as well as GenXer’s) judge a company by the “WOW’s” they see in their company’s recruiting and selection process. They are often bored with resumes and standard interviews. Fut R Views send a clear message that our firm is different and future-focused. You can’t get “the best” unless you stand out from the competitors. Fut R Views excite those that live for the future and conversely it can also “unsettle” those who live in the past.
- A further advantage of Fut R Views is that after the interviews are over you have multiple, diverse, and “fresh eyes” forecasts and answers (sometimes you even get answers from your competitors) to your problems. The answers alone could be priceless, even if no one is hired. Few ever bother to document the answers to behavioral interviews, no less use the results as valuable “data.” Fut R Views give you usable answers and new approaches to consider.
- Screening tools that give us new and different useful information allow us to improve the quality of hire! Quality hires might include agile, future thinkers, “envelope pushers,” problem solvers, speed learners, etc.
Possible problems with traditional approaches to interviewing include:
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- Most screening devices (behavioral interviews, resumes, references, etc.) are “past focused.” They dwell on experiences that may be years old and reflect how a candidate acted under a set of circumstances that are almost certainly different than your organization will face in the future.
- Behavioral interviews ask you how you acted in the past, but they fail to ask you how YOU WOULD HAVE ACTED if you had the freedom to use your own approach. Applicants are not asked if the approach they followed was their own or if it might have been under someone else’s orders. In a Fut R View, applicants are asked to develop their own approach. They are given the freedom to make bad decisions as well as good ones.
- Behavioral interviews ask questions about how you acted in the culture of your old firm rather than how would you do it in our culture (and business environment).
- Behavioral interviewing questions (and answer outlines) are widely available, making preparation and “practicing” relatively easy.
- In behavioral interviewing you would ask a veteran general how he/she fought their last war, while Fut R Viewing would ask them both, how they would do it today, and ask for their plan for forecasting and winning a future war.
- If competencies are measured in a behavioral interview they are probably “dated” and based on “what competencies ‘resulted in success’ in the past.” You may be able to avoid this “past bias” by identifying the competencies a firm will need in the future and assessing these new competencies in a Fut R View.
- The two different types of interviews would get different answers because the past is not always a predictor of the future, and the way we did it “then” might not be the way we would do it tomorrow. If you assume a rapid rate of change (like in high tech firms) what you did as little as one year ago may already be ancient history!
Preparation for the Fut R View:
- Interview/survey your top performers in the targeted jobs to identify what your best employees see as the most difficult current and future issues, problems and opportunities facing the job/firm. They would also be asked to contribute an outline of the best, average, and unacceptable answers that would be used as guidelines for assessing the candidates. For a Fut R View to be most successful, you must make sure the problems given to the applicants are ones that the best applicants can solve and the “average” can not. You should also “pre-test” your problems and solutions with your best technical performers to make sure you know for sure that the best will ace it and the worst will fail it.
- Prior to a Fut R View you have two options.
- Under the first option you notify the candidates in advance of the Fut R View that they are expected to research the company (and it’s environment) and to be prepared to outline how they would forecast/solve our problems (or take advantage of our opportunities).
- Under the second option (for positions where research and forecasting skills are less important) you supply all candidates with a brief 1-page summary describing our culture and our problems/ opportunities.
Steps in a Fut R View: Note: Be prepared to video/audio tape (with permission) the session or to take good notes in order to “capture” their answers.
- At the beginning of the Fut R View, you welcome the candidate and outline the goals and steps of the process. Answer any questions they have.
- Next the candidate is generally asked to identify the potential problems they would anticipate during their first month on the job (if they get them wrong you can identify the actual problems for them). You then ask them to walk you through the steps (and the why’s) for solving these first month problems.
- The next step (optional) involves giving them an outline/process map for some of the key processes/ systems they would be responsible for managing or using. They would then be asked questions on (1) How they would improve / modify the systems, (2) What are the critical success factors for a world class system, and (3) What are the common problems/errors with these systems.
- The Final step of a Fut R View involves asking the candidate to forecast the next 1-2 years for (1) the job, (2) the needs of the business, and (3) the critical success factors for your industry.
- Other possible options include:
- Asking them to outline their self-development and learning plan for the first year
- Asking them for their ideas on how, through their job, we can help us gain a competitive advantage over our competitors
- Asking them to critique our firms latest solution/ ideas
- Asking them to forecast functional and industry essential competencies for the next 2 years and show which ones they have
- As a substitute to Fut R Views try “Simuviews” (interviews where the applicant is put through several verbal simulations about how to solve the current problems to be faced in the job at our company)
- Rate the applicants on the ability to accurately forecast, solve short- and long-term problems and on their overall view of the future as it relates to our vision and needs. Compare them to other candidates. Also compare Fut R View scores with the scores on their traditional interviews to see the superiority of the tool. Allow others who couldn’t make the Fut R View session to “view the tape” and evaluate the candidate.
- Remember with Fut R Views you get the ideas/plans of all of the interviewees. This intelligence has a value of it’s own, regardless of who you hire.