Episode 5 – Interview Mindset (IQ, EQ & AQ)

Saturday, November 11th, 2023|


By this point in the hiring process, you’ve spent lots of time and resources to set up your employer brand, write your job description, review incoming resumes, and now you are finally ready to invite a handful of candidates to an interview.

No matter what route you take to get here, make sure your energy tank is full when you meet your prospective interviewee.

Make sure you are present, you are focused, prepared, and in the right interviewing mindset.  Also, it’s key to allow each interviewee to shine on their own merit, and not let any history of previous bad hires impact this new person and this new opportunity.

It’s imperative that you or your lead interviewer are not tired, hungry, or rushed and instead are at your best to represent your brand in the proper way and make a good impression.

If your hiring mindset is wrong, it can lead to a wrong hire!

Interviewing is both an art and a skill and it involves curiosity,  empathy, and authenticity to become a skillful interviewer.   In order to conduct your most perfect interview, consider the following pointers to transform your interviewing mindset.

The perfect interview starts with

  • Your preparation
  • Managing your energy
  • How do you build rapport
  • Staying present and focused
  • Creating engagement
  • Create a true human connection
  • And building trust

Skilled interviewers have an equal balance of questions to determine IQ, EQ & AQ.

IQ-focused interview questions as about technical skills and expertise, certifications, education, awards, and the specifics of how to do the required tasks.

And while skills-based questions are critical in assessing a candidate’s ability to do the job right, they only paint a partial picture of overall fit within the company.

Equally vital are the interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence (EQ) of a candidate, which reviews alignment, culture fit, values, communication skills, and overall compatibility within the team.

Add to the mix an opportunity to assess for AQ, or adaptability quotient that highlights a candidate’s ability to handle change, leadership, decision-making,  stress-management skills, and navigating the unknown!

This can be extremely valuable if you are launching a new product, are a start-up, or going through some changes within your organization or if all your processes and SOPs are not quite solid.

Assessing EQ and AQ skills requires asking open-ended, values-based, and situational interview questions which enable you to delve into a prospective candidate’s empathy, conflict resolution, and problem-solving capabilities.

Open-ended questions also allow your candidate to dive deeper into a topic and expand their answers, highlight their reasoning, thought processing, and communication skills

For example, you can glean so much information by asking:

  1. Share a time when you successfully diffused a misunderstanding between two colleagues.
  2. Provide an example of fostering a sense of belonging and teamwork among your peers.
  3. What leadership qualities do you admire most about yourself or your current boss?

Values-based questions tie the interview questions back to your company’s values.

For example, if your company’s core value is Agility,  then a line of questions that focus on agility will give you a glimpse into how that core value shows up for your candidate:

  • Tell me more about when you had to juggle multiple projects.
  • How do you handle change and unexpected interruptions?
  • Can you explain your approach to prioritizing and planning your day?

If Accountability is your company’s core value, then ask:

  • What do deadlines mean to you, and how do they impact teamwork?
  • How do you motivate yourself to stay accountable and achieve your tasks?
  • Describe a situation where you rallied your team members to accomplish a task.

While hard skills can be acquired or taught through various educational resources, assessing a candidate’s cognitive and emotional intelligence requires that you actively listen, be present, and be focused.

Asking follow-up questions, and observing their body language and communication style. This approach ensures a thorough evaluation and helps identify candidates who possess the right blend of technical as well as interpersonal skills that may align with your company culture.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

How are you currently interviewing for IQ, EQ, and AQ?

Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions

Episode 3: Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy

Episode 4: The Candidate Experience

Episode 4 : The Candidate Experience

Wednesday, November 1st, 2023|

Now that you are starting to receive resumes from your job posts or from your agency, let’s consider the various phases of the candidate journey and the experience they have with you.

Their perception either builds or breaks trust and can make them become your biggest fan, or your loudest foe.  Their experience starts with their earliest interaction with your website and job board, and then throughout their application process,  and the follow-up they receive (or don’t receive).

Having a process for acknowledging the receipt of their resume and establishing follow-up protocols and communication on next steps is an important step to consider, as is setting up initial interviews or even sending a rejection email and offering other resources to someone in their job search.

Follow-up and follow-through either reinforce your employer brand and the impression your company leaves with someone or it detracts from it…because unfortunately there is a resume black hole where candidates apply and they never hear back from anyone.

So even a simple bounce-back email that acknowledges receipt of a resume makes a huge impact and will set your company and practices apart, even if that includes a No.  This goes a long way to create advocacy and brand stewardship.

We’ve been thanked many times for replying back with an empathetic and heartfelt  “NO, Thank you.”  Any reply is better than leaving the candidate wondering, or ghosting them after an initial interaction.  Unfortunately, ghosting has become a real negative phenomenon in the hiring space.

So Don’t Ghost.  Follow-up!

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • Describe your process for handling incoming resumes and applications/
  • Who reviews the resumes or applications coming in?
  • What is the follow-up process for acknowledgment and/or rejection?
  • How do you keep track of who applied, and when?
  • Do you use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions

Episode 3: Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy


Episode 3 : Recruitment & Sourcing Strategy

Tuesday, October 24th, 2023|


Now that you’ve clarified your employer brand, and written your job description, let’s talk about your internal and external recruitment strategy.

Before you start looking externally for candidates, have you considered anyone from your current team who may have the skillsets you need to execute? Perhaps they are in another department or are ready to take on a new challenge or for a promotion.

An internal hire could be a morale boost and build trust, bring recognition, growth, and internal mobility within your teams…and in the long run, be a great retention tool. It reduces the need for someone to look for a “better opportunity” elsewhere because they trust that opportunity exists within and you’ll look internally first.

However, if you do need to hire from outside of the organization, you’ll need a recruitment & sourcing strategy that is best suited for your needs.

If you have an HR or recruitment team in place, then you have great support as a first line of reviewers to evaluate the incoming candidates.

However if you don’t have the bandwidth or the support to plan your own sourcing strategy, you may want to consider working with a recruitment agency that will work with you to showcase pre-vetted and pre-qualified candidates.

Let’s do a pulse check:

  • Who do you know who may know someone?
  • Do you offer incentives internally for referrals?
  • Are there companies that are aligned with your expertise, or your mission/ values where you want to see people from?
  • And…what companies or verticals do you NOT want to hire from? ie.  Potential vendors or existing customers, or competitors
  • Do you want to hire from a competitor?

If you decide to pursue the route of working with an outside recruiter instead of doing it internally yourself, then it’s critical to ask the right questions to find the recruiters and agencies that best suit your needs.

Recruitment agencies typically work either as a retained or as a contingency agency.

A contingency firm will invoice you after a placement is made.  There are no upfront fees, however in a contingency search typically the agency is working on several roles with multiple clients at the same time, and every role has equal focus and attention.

A retained firm, on the other hand, typically charges a 1/3 to get started and the balance when the candidate is hired; or a third to get started 1/3 when they present candidates and the third one that hire is made.

In a retained relationship, specific focus and priority are given to an open role, and a dedicated team is assigned. They often will help you write the job description, take you through an in-depth pre-qualification process to learn about the role, team, and your company, and in return will send you a handful of qualified and pre-vetted candidates to review.  So if you have an urgent need or have a very specific requirement, this may be the right route for you.

In both cases, fees are typically anywhere from 20 to 30% based on the candidate’s first-year salary, and a guarantee period is extended.

Even though in a contingency agreement there is no upfront fee, there is still an internal cost to consider.

Do a cost analysis of what it means to hire a professional recruitment agency versus the cost of internally doing it yourself.

Internal costs include your or your team’s resources, bandwidth, and expertise, as well as the cost of that open role, the cost of lost productivity

This exercise is no different than doing a cost analysis whether to work with an outside marketing agency, an outside accounting firm, or a payroll agency vs doing those functions in-house.

If you do determine that working with a recruitment agency is the route to go, then hire a firm that has a specific focus and expertise within the skill set that you’re trying to fill versus working with a generalist recruiter.

When you’re gauging potential partners, ask your peers and colleagues for referrals, and schedule a meeting to learn more about that particular recruitment agency’s policies, processes connections in the marketplace, and sourcing practices.

Look at firms whose core values, culture, and mission align with yours and who can attract the type of talent you’ll want to hire.

By the same token, you must be upfront and truthful with your recruiting agency and partner with them.

Share with them any challenges or roadblocks with this role or at your company. Let them know of any past candidates and any who are being reviewed currently. The last thing you’d want is for them to reach out to the same talent pool.

The more your agency knows the more targeted they can be in their search and be advocates for your company.

Let’s do a Pulse Check

  • What is the internal cost of this position being open?
  • Is there someone on your team who has the expertise to review incoming resumes?
  • Does my internal HR team have the bandwidth to recruit this new role?


Watch the previous episodes in this series:

Episode 0: Introduction

Episode 1: Transforming Your Hiring Mindset

Episode 2: Writing Impactful Job Descriptions