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EP 1563 There are different levels of expectation based upon how senior you are in an organization.  Here explain how to answer this question with your manager or in the C suite.

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Here are back-to-back questions. They will generally be asked of people at a manager level and above. The less experienced you are, the more they are going to tolerate an ordinary answer. The way it will be asked of you is, "Tell me about your best hire." Everyone can point out the best hire. If you are a phony and trying to claim that you are a manager and you really have a managed people, they will expose this right away. For most people who are at a manager level, the best hire, for people or VP level, C suite, you've got the best hire story that will be spectacular.

But when they switch over to the question of, "Tell me about your worst hire," the more junior you are in the pecking order, the more they will tolerate an ordinary answer of, "You know, there was this person or thought would be exquisite and and turned out to be pretty average."They will probe as to how you missed on this person, where did the breakdown occur and what they are looking for (and is true for the next level as well) is the ability to be reflective, be self-critical and show the sort of emotional intelligence that demonstrates that you do a postmortem after bad choice. I can talk about it objectively without feeling threatened.

By the time you get to the C suite, your you have this down pat.. I'll simply say that you tell them the true story. I'm confident you can tell it in a way that demonstrates that you are someone who can be self reflective, self-critical, and talk about how you missed on this individual. Don't be afraid to go into detail without going overboard. You don't want to do a half-hour self-assessment. 15 to 25 seconds of how you missed on this person. How they package themselves. How they got through your subordinates and how you missed in the person. I know this is early going to the depth OR missing on a few questions because you projected certain attributes onto them that they didn't really have. You've learned your lesson from that and you move forward from there.

The more senior you are, the more there is the expectation of emotional intelligence be demonstrated in the interview. Like I said, if you are a manager level or a lead level, you can get away with, "I meeting mediocre hire" type of answer.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter
Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter

Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a career and leadership coach who worked as a recruiter for more than 40 years. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 1500 episodes and his newest show, “No BS Coaching Advice.” He is a member of The Forbes Coaches Council. “No BS JobSearch Advice Radio” was recently named a Top 10 podcast for job search. was also recently named a Top 10 YouTube channel for job search.

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