Shechtman offers advice on interviewing to NEX GEN class

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If your typical employment interview is simply a checklist of questions, it's a colossal waste of time, Morrie Shechtman told members of the 2018-19 SNPA NEX GEN class during a recent video conference call.

Shechtman, an author and change consultant for corporate leaders, says he teaches his clients that a good employment interview is tough and uncomfortable. 

"In an interview," he said, "I want to see how a person deals with difficulty – not with pleasant stuff.  You're not hiring people to have a happy time all the time at work.  You're hiring people to do difficult stuff, make tough decisions.  So I want to see how that happens."

In particular, he teaches clients to ask two questions, above and beyond everything else.

#1 - Up until today's date, what have been the two most stressful experiences in your life? Why were they stressful and what did they teach you about yourself?

#2 - Up until today, what have been the two greatest losses in your life? Why were those losses significant and what did you learn about yourself?

He said those two questions – if you ask nothing else – will tell you everything you need to know about a candidate without violating any federal laws.

"You'll be amazed," he told the NEX GEN protégés, "at how open people are and how much they tell you about their lives."

When asked how companies should handle the difficult situations individuals might bring up in response to these questions, Shechtman told them to get rid of the notion that it's your job to make them feel better.

If someone were to tell him, for example, that he lost his best friend or his wife died of cancer, Shechtman said he would respond: "Wow! I'm sorry to hear that.  How did that impact you and how did it change your life?"

He said it's not a company's role to try to make people feel better. Rather, he said interviewers need to ask how the loss changed the person's life and whether he or she learned from this life experience. "Do not hire people who learn nothing from their life," he said. "They are an enormous liability to your organization."

Shechtman, NEX GEN

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