The Art of Interviewing
There is more to interviewing than just asking questions. You may have the wrong person for your company saying the right things to general questions. Conducting good interviews is a skill, one many owners do not have.
Interviews are nerve wrecking for both parties. Typically you walk away from an interview questioning if you represented yourself and/or your company in good light. By preparing and coming up with a strategic plan, interviews can be more successful.
Determine the Desired Outcome
The first step in any interview process is to determine what your company wants to accomplish by hiring someone. What position are you filling, long term or short, what are the expectations and requirements? Knowing all the details about the situation will better prepare you for any questions the interviewee has. By being prepared and knowledgeable you will also represent your company accurately.
Develop a list of questions that will help you achieve your goals. Find out about their past, present and future. If they have no future plans or goals, they will probably be less motivated to stay with your company will a long time due to lack of aspirations. Ask questions that evaluate experience, character and attitude. Questions like “Tell me about your typical week. How do you start off on Monday and how is that different than the other days of the week?” will give you a better idea of their life and working habits. Ask questions that require them to give examples of a situation they handled. This example will reflect how they will act in the future if the same issue arises.
Sell the Company
Yes, they are the ones asking for a job. But, you also are needing someone to fill a position, so you need to sell them the company. In addition to the list of questions for them, you should give a short overview of the company. Give examples of awards and notable mentions that make the company look good. Also, explain the company dynamic of staff and a review of the open position.
Even if you don’t like the candidate, be careful of what you say. The impression you give the candidate will effect your company’s image. Chances are, your rejects will apply at other companies and will talk to other employers about their impression and experience with you. Leave each interview on a good note. It is imperative to ensure that a company treats interviews as an opportunity to communicate positively with every candidate, even those that are obviously not a fit.
Be careful of what questions you ask. There are labor laws regarding what you can talk about. Obviously avoid questions about protected attributes or any that may be perceived to be discriminatory in nature. For best results, interviewers must always look up and understand the applicable federal, state and local laws that apply to interviewing or be sure that an HR professional has reviewed all questions.
Another important key to successful interviewing ensures that interviewers always ask the same questions to each candidate that is interviewed. This way, after completing the interview process, interviewers can compare answers to gauge cultural and skills fits among all the appropriate candidates.