No one needs to tell you that a poor hiring decision can be more costly than if the job was left vacant.
As a manager or business owner, you probably don’t get a chance to interview candidates on a regular basis. Most companies hire new employees infrequently, filling one or two vacancies every six months … if that. Like with any worthwhile activity, practice makes perfect.
As a professional recruiter, I can tell you without a doubt that no one can become great at interviewing unless he/ she is doing it every week. However, there are best practices you can follow to improve the results from your interviews, and yes – help you make better hiring decisions. It’s worth the effort to develop a better interview method.
First, remember these 3 simple rules:
- The purpose of the interview is see how well a person fits with your company culture. (you can establish their experience & skills from the resume and their references)
- The best interviews are conversations – not interrogations.
- Know which personality & behavioral traits you’re looking for before you start the interview.
With those rules in mind, you will next want to conduct every interview exactly the same way.
In order to accomplish that level of discipline, you need to do some prep work. If you’re interviewing as a team, make sure that you meet ahead of time to discuss the traits and characteristics you want to see in a new employee. Next, prepare the same 3-5 questions that you will ask every candidate. This is the best way to compare & contrast candidates objectively after all of the interviews are done.
After you’re prepped, begin each interview the same way: Share your story with the candidate first. Start with a summary of what your company/ department does and how it interacts with the world. Then give a brief explanation of the job. Now you can have a conversation with the candidate that fits the context and doesn’t go off track. Also, make sure that everyone who is interviewing the candidate takes notes. It sounds simple, but when you go back to review your impressions, you won’t be able to remember enough about the person if you didn’t write it down.
Finally, don’t take too much time to decide. Review the candidates and make an offer. The longer the wait, the more likely that your first choice will be hired by a competitor. These simple steps will provide you with more confidence every time you hire.
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