Picture this… A singer nervously walks up on stage for her big audition in front of the director and producer. Given that this is a tryout for the lead role in a musical theater production, she’s prepared a variety of songs to sing. However, she gets to center stage, under the hot spotlight, and the director doesn’t ask her to sing. Instead, he asks her to describe her singing voice to him and the producer.
- What’s her range like?
- How is her tonality and sense of pitch?
- Can she harmonize seamlessly with another vocalist?
- How expressive is her face and body as she’s singing? Does she move an audience to tears by the purity of her sound?
In this ridiculous hypothetical situation, the director has interviewed the singer about her abilities, rather than auditioned her.
Of course, this scenario seems bizarre (and improbable) to all of us in light of how we know the creative world works, and yet, this is exactly what we do in the business world every day. Instead of asking a candidate to outline his ability to sign up clients, ask him to try signing up a client as you observe the process. If an interviewee has touted her skills at project management, provide her with a current team’s case that needs to be whipped into shape. Although it’s not how a potential hiring decision is traditionally made, think of how effective you could be in learning about your candidate by auditioning the person, rather than simply interviewing.
For this method to be most effective, mention your “audition” component to a candidate early on in the process. First, if she balks at the notion of your application process, that’s a red flag right off the bat. If she’s enthusiastic and willing to “try out” for the job, great! Provide her with the necessary ammo to be effective, less one crucial element. See how she responds without all the cards in the deck at her disposal – resourcefulness, scrappiness, grit, and seemingly basic politeness in tough situations are all traits you’d want to gauge in an interviewee.
As she works through the situation you’ve given her, check in regularly. Then, as the deadline approaches, schedule your final meeting together as the “post mortem” component of her audition. Go through the project together start to finish, reviewing her thought process, strategy to solve the problem, and of course, results in doing so effectively. This question-and-answer portion of an audition format will be more useful to you as an employer (and potential team leader) of this person than asking someone to describe how they’d react in a hypothetical situation.
Just because you’re not hiring an incredible vocalist or musician doesn’t mean you can’t hire like a director or conductor. Engage future hires in an audition process and you’ll be amazed what they’re able to produce under the spotlights. Now it’s your turn to raise the curtain.
This article was written by Josh Linkner from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.