The greatest of interviewers know the secrets to getting the information they need in the shortest time frame and with minimal hassle. Sherlock Holmes is considered one of the greatest fictional characters of all time due to his sophisticated interview techniques, theories, and unconventional approaches to retrieving the exact information he needed.
Maybe surprisingly, recruiters today can learn a lot from Sherlock Holmes’ techniques and apply them in interviews. You never know, “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” could be more than just an interesting read!
Check out the advice Sherlock has given in his investigative adventures and use his tips in your interviews…
“We are limited by our experience and our habits of thought”
Don’t let your old interview habits or traditional perceptions cloud your judgment of a candidate in an interview. Always be prepared to listen to what a candidate has to say before deciding on whether you will hire them or not.
“Always approach a case with an absolutely blank mind. Form no theories, just simply observe and draw inferences from your observations.”
Even if you know of the candidate, or someone you respect refers them, you should always go into an interview with a blank mind and allow the information you retrieve from the candidate to form your opinion of them.
“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”
A candidate’s resume may speak volumes about their experience and skills, but it is a mistake to base your impression of them solely on their resume. Upon meeting the candidate, get the information you require from them to ascertain if they suit the job description and then form an opinion as to how relevant their skills are. A lot can be noted in a resume, but it is the ability to back it up that counts.
"Data, Data, Data! I can't make bricks without clay."
If there are gaps in a resume, or a candidate has left jobs after short periods, never assume the reasons behind this without asking the candidate first. Information is vital to drawing a perception about a candidate so be sure to ask in-depth questions to help you understand why they have such a mixed work history.
“Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself; but talent instantly recognizes genius.”
As a recruiter, you need to have the skills to recognize talent when you see it. The better the interviewer you are, the easier it will be for you to deduce the skills and excellence of candidates. Spotting talent is essential as a recruiter and knowing how to obtain the information you need from a candidate is vital.
"I never guess. It is a shocking habit -- destructive to the logical faculty."
Never guess when it comes to interviewing or problem solving. The key to a great interview is to have the facts laid out and to draw conclusions only on the data provided. Your personal opinions can sway your decision when it comes to choosing one candidate from a list, but in essence, your personal thoughts should be secondary to the facts and information the candidate provides.
"Nothing clears up a case so much as stating it to another person."
When in doubt about a candidate, ask a colleague to sit in on the interview with you, or simply go over the main points and information retrieved from the interview with your own line manager. Another person’s perspective may help you to decide on the suitability of the candidate.