You’ve written your job posting, combed through cover letters, read countless resumes, conducted your pre-screening and finally narrowed your search to a handful of potential applicants who seem to have the skills and experience you require. Now it’s time to interview applicants and determine who to hire. Not sure how to get started? These five tips will help you to interview like a boss!
Assemble an experienced and balanced interview panel
While conducting an interview it’s best not to go-it-alone. For best results select an interview panel of 3-5 individuals who truly understand the demands of the position and the type of personality that will thrive in your work environment. When selecting panel members, experience is key. While anyone may be able to assess verbal communication skills, or professional appearance, you will need an interview panel who knows their stuff if you really want to find the best person for the job. Remember, it’s often easier to develop technical skills than soft skills such as motivation, listening and communication skills. Watch carefully for these things and weigh them heavily. Finding someone who would be a good fit with your existing team should be a top priority.
Go online and research the candidates
In addition to reading each applicant’s resume and cover letter, it is wise to dig a little deeper and harness the powers of the internet to learn more about perspective employees before you interview them. Your pre-interview preparation should include a detailed search of Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social networks. The results will likely provide a wealth of information (good and bad) that wasn’t included in their application. Most importantly, it will help you to gage their professional judgement and offer insight into their values and character that could not be obtained from an application or interview.
Plan and ask the right questions
Asking generic questions will not land you the best candidate. Once you have assembled a knowledgeable panel, work with them to create a list of questions that are relevant and specific to the position you’re trying to fill. Decide in advance what you really want to know and ask questions that will get you the answers you need. In addition to planning the questions, discuss possible answers as a team and ensure each panel member knows what a reasonable response might look like.
Make time to review and discuss each interview thoroughly
While scheduling interviews make sure to include ample time in between for discussion. Interviewing isn’t easy (especially when done well) and the candidate isn’t the only one under pressure. Interviewers often miss comments or social ques while trying to scribble notes and it can be easy to lose track of the goal or rush through each applicant. Discussing candidates as a team immediately following each interview will ensure everyone is up-to-speed while providing a valuable opportunity to reflect before small details are forgotten. Carefully pre-screening your applicants and narrowing your list of interviewees to 5 or fewer will enable you to take the time you need to thoroughly evaluate each candidate.
Extend professional courtesy
Your top applicants are likely employed elsewhere and their managers may not know they are actively seeking new employment opportunities. Be discrete and respectful of their time by ensuring their interview runs on time. Assume they are working within a tight schedule and would prefer not to meet other candidates in the waiting room. During the interview make eye contact, listen carefully to their responses and provide opportunities for them to ask questions and contribute further. Including a question like “Is there anything you would like to tell us that you haven’t had an opportunity to?” provides a chance to expand and speak beyond the standard questions you have asked. They will appreciate this courtesy, and quality candidates will take the opportunity to show you they have done their homework by sharing great ideas!