After several technical interviews and the interviews

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After several “technical” interviews and the interviews with two vice presidents, candidates go through what we call the “pack of wolves” session. The applicant sits in a conference room where senior technical people pose difficult questions that the candidate does not know in advance. Some of the questions are virtually impossible to answer, and they come in rapid succession. When the candidate some 6,000 goals in the database come due. Our ability to meet those goals ultimately determines our success or failure. Most of the work in our company is organized by project rather than along strict functional lines. Members of a project team may be (and usually are) from different parts of the organization. Project managers need not be (and often aren’t) the highest ranking member of the group. Likewise, the goal system is organized by project and function. In Monday project meetings, employees set short-term goals and rank them in priority order. Short-term goals take from one to six weeks to complete, and different employees have different numbers of goals. At the beginning of a typical week, for example, a member of our production-control staff initiated seven new goals in connection with three different projects. He said he would, among other things, report on progress with certain minicomputer problems (two weeks), monitor and report on quality rejection rates for certain products (three weeks), update killer software for the assembly department (two weeks), and assist a marketing executive with a forecasting software enhancement (four weeks). On Monday night, the project goals are fed back into a central computer. On Tuesday mornings, functional managers receive a printout of their direct reports’ new and pending project goals. These printouts are the basis of Tuesday afternoon meetings in which managers work with their people to anticipate overload and conflicting goals, sort out priorities, organize work, and make mutual commitments about what’s going to get done. This is a No Excuses Management https://hbr.org/1990/07/no-excuses-management 8 of 28 6/14/2018, 2:27 AM
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makes a mistake, the interviewers point it out and give the correct answer. The tone of this session is aggressive but not abusive. It is an excellent way to weed out qualified managers and engineers who can’t take the pressures of our business. 3. Interviews should lead to detailed assessments of strengths and weaknesses, not vague impressions. Our interview evaluation forms include numerical scores (on a scale of zero to five) that mirror the technical qualifications on the requisition. Our people are tough graders. I also insist that the hiring vice president write an interview strategy before my session with a managerial candidate. That strategy highlights the specific strengths and weaknesses of the candidate, particular concerns he or she has expressed about the job or the company, and other critical issues. I’m not reluctant to share the numerical evaluations with a candidate, especially one who has been assessed as weak in a particular area. This candid feedback is usually a
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