If your organization has asked you to hire people to plan and manage its disaster recovery and business continuity, how should you set about it? The natural reaction of many hiring managers is to look for relevant skills and experience. However, this may not be the best approach. What you really want to know is if a candidate has a burning desire to help your organization to recover from IT disaster and continue operating even when the going gets tough. Even a previous title like “Business Continuity Manager” does not necessarily guarantee the passion for the job that you want to see in an applicant. You need another approach.

It’s a fact, generally speaking, that people’s past behaviour is a good indicator of their future performance. To know how somebody will drive your disaster recovery planning or bolster your business continuity management, you need to find out how they performed previously. This is not the same as asking people what they would do in a given situation. Job candidates are often well prepared for telling you what they think you want to hear. What you need to find out is what they really did do in a situation representing a DR or BC challenge.

So before interviewing candidates, prepare suitable interview questions. For example, ask them to think of a time when they had to get others to adhere to a way of working that was strategically important overall to the organisation, but that was viewed as a lower priority by the individuals concerned (a common situation when trying to get departments to factor DR or BC into their operations). Ask them what they did – then stop talking and wait for their answer. Don’t help them! By listening carefully to what they actually did and avoiding prompting them for “desirable” answers, you’ll have a much better idea about whether candidates really have DR and BC as part of their inner motivation or just as lines of text in their CVs.