Day 531

Mid-term week is like a thunderstorm. You know it’s coming. In the distance you see a massive stratocumulous anvil head, blindingly white at the top, dark black at the bottom. There’s nothing you can do except tie down the patio furniture, close the windows, and hunker down.  Then just before the storm breaks, the restless winds fade away. There is a moment of exquisite hushed calm.

That was today.

In Human Resources, how to handle job interviews (as the interviewer, not the interviewee). You can do interviews one-on-one, of course. The panel interview is popular with some companies, with as many as five people ganging up on the poor job prospect. Then for long distance, there is the telephone interview, or for the more plugged-in among us, the Skype interview.

The most effective is probably two interviewers–that way, one can be keeping comprehensive notes, which often isn’t possible during one-on-one interviews.

In order to make valid comparisons between candidates, you’re going to want to ask the same questions. So that requires some pre-planning. Do the interview in a quiet room, free from distractions and people passing by. Needless to say, turn off your cellphone. Once you start the interview, take some time to establish rapport–perhaps ask some questions about hobbies or secondary interests indicated on the person’s resume. Then get started with your list of prepared questions. There are two basic types of questions:

  • Situational: What would you do if _______? (This can often result in textbook answers, but does give you a sense of what the person knows, at least in theory.)
  • Behavioural description: “Describe a time when you _____________.” (This can be a good indicator of actual experience, and a valid indicator of future behaviour in similar situations.)

A mixture of both types of questions probably works best. Be an active listener, and be aware of non-verbal clues as well (i.e. body language.)

Once you finish your questions, you  can validate your interview with a test. This can be an ordinary pencil and paper test, or an actual physical skills test (“Show me how to ______”). Remember to check references too.

On to Beer Industry. A special guest had to back out at the last minute so Plan B: Jason Fisher simply presented a class he had planned for a later date, a summary of the craft beer industry featuring three speeches by well-known members of the industry.

First up was Scott Metzger of Freetail Brewing in San Antonio, Texas. Scott’s thesis was that for craft brewers, economies of autheticity trump economies of scale. (Jason’s interpretation: “Your business has to have a core value of authenticity or you will eventually end up making [insert name of well-known generic lager here].”) Another interesting take-away from the same video was, “If you want better business [in your city], then be a better business.” In other words, are you running your business in such as way that it helps your city be a better place for everyone?

Next up was a video  of Sam Calagione of Dogfish Head Brewery. Sam told the story about how he was inspired to leave the path of “traditional” styles of beer in order to research and make beers from prehistoric times. (One could argue that these beers were even more traditional than “traditional” beers. But I digress…)

Jason’s wonderfully condensed take on Sam’s talk: “Find your own path.”

Finally, a video of Greg Koch of Stone Brewing. Greg is a fairly good speaker, if somewhat off-the-wall from time to time, and his advice to craft brewers was fulsome:

  • “Be remarkable. It’s a good business model, but it requires ethics, camaraderie, passion and collaboration.”
  • “Be mad passionate”
  • “Your brand is you–don’t let others lead you astray.”
  • “Craft brewing is a place for artisans.”
  • “Authenticity is required.”
  • “Don’t serve the mozzarella stix of beer–make passionate customers.”

A good video, and well worth watching again.

And with that, the storm is upon us.

 

 

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