Welcome to Life!
This blog is an attempt to keep my writing interests alive. It is my sincere hope that someone, somewhere will find these interesting, useful and a value to their life, in some small way. I wish everyone that reads my blogs ends up living a full, rich life.

Monday, December 14, 2009

How do you pick the "nuts"?

Recently, I was talking to a close friend of mine, who asked me the following question.  If you were interviewing a candidate for an executive position, what are the attributes you would look for and what questions would you ask the candidate?
Was an interesting question. Also, it has been a while since I interviewed candidates for senior positions. :-(
Obviously I was trying to remember things we had put together in the past in Sun Microsystems, (which I think is one of the companies with a great HR function; more on that in a later post), to help us select the best candidates. However, most of those were for either selecting individual contributors (the core of Sun), first level managers (managers of people), or second level managers (managers of managers). It stopped there.
But, of course, Sun has excellent information on the attributes of a leader, at an executive level, but no interview guide, that I could access. 
So, I started thinking about what I would ask a potential "director or higher" candidate, someone who would be entrusted with running a business or an operation, if I were to select one. I came up with a few, but I am sure there are more that would be relevant.  I think these questions are generic enough to be applied in any industry, barring a few about technology focus etc. 
I am not an expert in human resources, but hopefully these are meaningful questions. Would like to hear from others (particularly the MBAs or the MBA types) on what they would ask? 
Business Results 
  • What are your top priorities in your business? [(e.g., happy teams, retention, 0 bugs, meeting commitments, containing opex, etc). These are important to you!] 
  • How will you run your organization? 
  • What are the success factors of your business? [Your business must be effective in these to be considered a success. May not be the same as "priorities" above. These are the things you will cover in your operations review to your bosses to say your business is successful.]
  • To what level do you think you should know your technology (the product line you are driving)?
  • How will you address any shortfall in your knowledge of the technology you are leading?
Generating and Driving A Vision
  • What is the role of vision in running a business? 
  • Are you a visionary and why do you think so?
  • How will you drive your vision?
Driving Innovation
  • What innovations have you delivered?
  • How will you build and grow an innovation culture?
  • What are the factors that make an innovation culture flourish in a company?
Conflict Management and Resolution
  • Name a few conflict situations you have been in?
  • What are the various means you adopted to manage and resolve conflicts; which of those worked best? 
Resources and Plans

  • What do you need, to be successful in your job?
  • What are your plans for the next five years?
  • Questions to identify family circumstances that will impact the candidate's stickiness in the company.
      Wonder if there are researched and qualified literature on this!
      [Those of you who were looking for tips on selecting choice nuts for consumption with a frothy, cold concoction, sorry to have disappointed you].

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