What TV’s Law & Order Can Teach Us About Interviewing

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Jan 31, 2013

TV cops have it all figured out. Just watch their interrogations.

One guy comes in strong, slamming his fists on the table and screaming like a madman. Whoa. Just as the suspect gets nervous and thinks he could be in danger, in slides the softer cop.“Take the deal, I understand,” the nice cop says while his partner grimaces at the perp. “Do what’s best, I’ll help you.”

Then, BAM, the suspect admits to everything one or two commercial breaks later. It’s like legal clockwork. The good cop-bad cop routine never fails and it makes great fodder for retired rappers.

Valuable interviewing lessons lie underneath the layer of gritty entertainment like TV’s Law & Order. Sometimes two or more people can do better than one. You may not be interrogating criminals, but their methods will help you gather information (just don’t throw a chair and threaten the applicant with jail time).

Interviewing: Why gathering opinions matters

  • Prove the consistency of your applicant’s answers. Decide on the bulk of your interview questions so that all of the interviewers ask them. You may see discrepancies in the applicant’s work history and story choices. You may also get great insights into how the applicant reacts to repetition.
  • Reduce your personal bias, since that could lead you to a terrible talent choice and ever worse legal ramifications.
  • If for no other reason, use multiple interviewers to find out more information from an applicant. Use a few preordained questions for exclusive interviewers. Free up time in the actual interviews for applicants to talk and explain themselves in detail.

Yes, it sounds complicated…

It doesn’t have to be if you’re using the right tools. You want clear, effective communication between interviewers without the red tape of email or (gasp) paper. Use a system that allows you to easily communicate with your hiring partners and get work done.

You want to:

  • Simply attach notes and trade ideas quickly.
  • Share information with the ability to simultaneously browse the applicant’s information and profile.
  • Track all the applicants through the entire hiring process with every hiring manager on the same page.
  • Evaluate objectified skill sets.

Two heads are better than one

  • Gut feelings and first impre­­ssions feel great, but feelings fade. Even worse, they may mislead from the start. If you can bring more opinions into consideration, do it.
  • Take notes and pay attention to details. Then everyone can easily compare and contrast insights. Each extra opinion will flatten your singular ‘impression curve,‘ giving you an even better chance at painting a truly accurate picture of the applicants.
  • Work together with your team and reap the hiring benefits. You don’t need to pound your fists on the table or threaten to search anyone’s apartment either. Hey, it must work, because the TV cops always get their guy.

This article originally appeared on The Resumator Blog.

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