Over the course of speaking with almost 500 leaders for my weekly “Corner Office” series, I’ve asked every one of them, “How do you hire?” Their answers are always insightful because after years of interviewing countless job candidates, they’ve learned the best approaches to help them get right to the core of who a candidate is and how he or she will work with a team. Learn the strategies these chief executives have developed through trial and error to help you go beyond the polished résumés, pre-screened references and scripted answers, to hire more creative and effective members for your team. And if you’re on the other side of the job hunt, you can gain insight on what your interviewer is really looking for in a candidate.

A typical job interview is little more than a social call with some predictable choreography. A conference-room meeting, a pristine résumé and the standard questions: Where do you want to be in five years? What do you consider your biggest failure? What are your strengths and weaknesses?

Add in some small talk — maybe the candidate and the interviewer have something in common, like an alma mater or an acquaintance from an earlier job — and that’s largely it. The candidate seems good, and the references check out. So an offer is made, and fingers are crossed that everything works out.

Then, a month later, the new hire misses an important deadline or starts complaining about the work. Cue that sinking feeling: You start wondering if hiring this person was a mistake.

Of course there’s a better way. Here are three principles that can help you hire the right person:

  1. Be creative. Every candidate will be prepared for commonplace interview questions. Find new ways to truly understand how a person thinks.
  2. Be challenging. Put the candidate in situations where they are more likely to show their true selves.
  3. Allow your employees to help. You are not the only person who is going to have to work with this candidate. There is likely already a team of employees you trust that will have to interact with him or her every day. Their opinion should matter.
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