You never know where you're going to get a gem of an idea from. In this case, I got a good one from a DVD that was given out for free as a promotional item from Verizon at a breakfast seminar I attended. I've received many things like this, and rarely have taken the time to watch one, but for some reason, because I saw this laying around in my living room, I decided to put it in and see what it was all about.

I came across this one interview in particular that Verizon had conducted with a man named Lon McGowan of iClick, a company that makes custom promotional items, based in Seattle. The subject was in hiring people, and his process for the interview process was thought provoking.

What he said he does is conducts the first parts of the interview through email. This gives him some kind of idea of the writing skills of those who apply for positions with him. The second part of the interview, if he's still interested, is done totally over the phone. He not only wants to hear a candidate sell themselves to him over the phone, but this gives him an indication of how the candidate might present themselves to his clients, since most of the contact with his clients is by telephone.

At that point, he said he'll then invite the top 3 candidates to visit his business, and he has the team that person would be working on conduct the interviews while he sits in. He does this because he wants to make sure that new person would fit in well with the culture of the company and the team. He also sits in to make sure the team makes fair decisions.

I've always advocated the last part as essential to any interviews, but the first two parts threw me off initially. As one thinks about it, our world really hasn't changed all that much, but the reality is that many of out businesses do rely strongly on our phone skills, and in today's world many contacts are made by email also. As an employer, one should want to know if the person they're talking to has adequate writing skills and doesn't take shortcuts in language when it may come to them communicating with their customers.

Pure brilliance, if you ask me, and something more managers, supervisors, and business owners should probably consider.