I was watching some of the Senate committee confirmation hearings for Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State. Politics aside, what a grueling way to acquire a job! The confirmation hearings resemble more of a dissertation defense than an interview.

I thought about the interviews that I have been in and those that I have conducted and wondered what would have been different if I knew they were being conducted on national television. Would I have grilled the candidate in depth about philosophy, methods and past actions? Would I have paid more attention to how I came across as much as I did to the qualifications and of the one being interviewed? Would chemistry even be an issue?

Understandably, the job of Secretary of State is vastly more complex and important than any position for which I have interviewed, but I still think that there are lessons involved for the interviews you do conduct. It is fair to ask a candidate to come prepared and to talk about specific situations. It is ok to ask the hard questions and really probe in depth about past experiences. It is appropriate to ask about philosophy and rationale that would be used to make future decisions. It is an expectation that the interviewer does his/her homework too and ask specifics about each candidate rather than general, generic questions.

Come to your next interview as prepared as if you were conducting a confirmation hearing on television but take advantage of the intimacy of your private setting to assess fit with you and your culture.

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