How to Conduct an Interview and Find the Right Candidate
According to Forbes magazine, an average number of 118 applicants apply for any given job in the U.S. For a hiring manager, sifting through such a large volume of resumes can become overwhelming. But hiring the wrong person can be a costly mistake. How do you make sure you are hiring the right person when you only have an hour or two with them?
Interviews can be stressful, both for the hiring manager and the job applicant. Here are some tips to preparing and conducting an interview and deciding on the right candidate for the job.
Interviewing a Job Candidate: How to Prepare
Do your Homework
Your candidate isn’t the only one who needs to prepare for an interview. Instead, make sure to review the candidate’s resume beforehand. If you really like a candidate, you can even check their references before they come in. You can also review their LinkedIn page, research their current company, or ask for work samples before their interview.
Choose your Candidates wisely
Don’t choose more than about five candidates to interview. Interviewing more will become difficult to keep track of and you might have a hard time remembering all of their differences. If you don’t like the five candidates, then you can always reach out to more applicants. If others are involved in the decision-making process, it’s also important to agree on what you are looking for in an employee. Choosing more than five candidates might indicate that your team isn’t on the same page.
Interviewing a Job Candidate: What to Ask
Recognize the Time Constraint
When you only have one hour (or more if you’re lucky) with a potential employee, it’s important to ask valuable questions.
Asking a candidate what they did at their last job or how many years of experience they have just wastes precious time. Decide on the most important questions either on your own or with your team. Ask your highest priority questions first to ensure you get all of the information you need to make a hiring decision.
Ask Behavioral Questions
Instead of asking fact-based questions about past performance, ask your interviewee things that reveal more about their behavior and character. You can ask them to tell you about a time they went above and beyond their job description or a question that compels them to tell you about a past failure or lesson they learned. These types of questions will reveal far more about a candidate than how many years of experience they have.
Check their Knowledge
Asking candidates what they know about your company can also reveal a lot about them. These questions show whether or not a candidate did their own homework on your company before coming to the interview. Try asking them what they think the job is about or about the company’s mission. If they answer these questions well, it will show they truly want the job.
Job Candidate Selection: The Right Person
Rate your Job Candidates
It’s important to rate every single candidate that you interview, ideally both before and after the interview.
By rating a candidate based on their technical skills, experience, education, and other important factors, you can develop a standardized system. It’s better to compare candidates directly to your company’s standard instead of toward one another. It also helps you avoid choosing a candidate with weaker skills simply because they were more amenable in the interview.
Does the Candidate really fit the Job?
Beyond having the technical skills, does the candidate fit your company culture? Don’t make the mistake of choosing someone based on their skills only to find out later that they are difficult to work with or not up to a customer service task. If others are involved in the interview process, be sure to meet immediately after each interview to discuss the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses. People often forget a candidate soon after, so debriefing is very important.
Choose your New Employee wisely
Once you have a candidate that you like, it’s time to make an offer. Don’t wait to hire the right candidate—other companies might like them too. If you find the right person, try to offer them the job within 24 to 48 hours.
At the end of the day, there is no exact science to interviewing. It’s important to find a system that works best for you and your company. Likewise, a candidate also wants to know if they are choosing to work at a place that fits their personality, skillset, and career goals. Make sure your interview reflects that. From allowing time for the candidate to ask questions to spending time getting to know a potential employee, remember that interviewing is a two-way street.
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