A good project team starts with a meaningful and human centred job interview. I loved the human face this article puts on the job interview process http://blogs.hbr.org/tjan/2012/09/the-most-important-job-intervi.html from Harvard Business Review by Anthony K. Tjan.
It reminded me about my marriage proposal, when the “Will you marry me?” question received the ” Will you?” response.
It was a two word sentence meant to cement the mutual agreement and articulate the presence/or absence of a common vision. True for marriage. True for business. True for project teams.
I usually know at the end of an interview that I would not like to hear back from an employer when he/she:
1. is taken aback when I actually have questions as a follow up of his/her ‘Do you have questions” question. It closes the opportunity to find the match.
2. literally reads from a sheet of paper the questions to ask. If an interviewer cannot articulate one sentence, how he/she is able to assess the response? It is often a sign of simple lack of interest in the response.
“Too often, I feel, employers forget that they want or need the candidate as much as the candidate needs them“, writes Tjan. And I subscribe. Not treating the job applicant as a valuable customer is a certain recipe for driving away the best. I’ve noticed it in a year of 15 international competitions and an equally high number of local recruitments. It showed me that the job interview is a two-way process. Flexing muscles as an prospective employer helps only if you hire a gym instructor and even then it can be seen as a competition rather than interest in the candidate’s talent and skills.
The job interview is the basis for building trust and a mutually fulfilling work relation and team work. “If you were given this opportunity, would you take it?” is THE interview question proposed by Tjan to test the foundation.
I would follow it up with “Why?” and let the candidate talk.
I often go back to this book I got during my studies for the Development Management degree at The Open University. I offers insights from twelve professionals in a variety of development management fields. It is edited by Dorcas Robinson, Tom Hewitt and John Harriss.
The book essentially answers the question: how can relationships between organisations be managed so as to build the public action and outcomes desired from development interventions? It explores the diversity of inter-organisational relationships which exist in reality and the array of relationships which are being promoted by policymakers. In this book, partnership is taken to be just one form of inter-organisational relationship amongst many. This book is enlightening on other forms of engagement between organisations captured by terms such as alliance, network, federation, coalition. It makes you more aware of important forms of non-engagement or dis-engagement at times when you wonder what happened to what you though as a strong partnership.
The 3 Cs of inter-organisational relations – competition, co-ordination, co-operation – are debated and analysed. The book concludes with a case study and practical advice into making inter-organisational relationships work.