“Most interviewers feel it’s the candidate’s responsibility to be ‘on,’” writes Jeff Haden of Inc. “Remarkable interviewers feel it’s their responsibility to get the best from every candidate.” A job interview is a reciprocal opportunity for both sides to get to know each other in order to make a decision that is in their mutual best interest. In that spirit, we present our top eight interviewer tips and recommendations…
Follow these interviewer tips to land the best new team members
First, be clear about what you need — not the role you are seeking to fill, but what a candidate needs to bring to be successful. Design questions that will probe the extent to which the applicant possesses those characteristics and expertise. If necessary, partner with a specialist in the field to create your question strategy. For insight into how the candidate would solve problems, paint a scenario or two and ask what solutions they might use.
Next, know as much as possible about the applicant before you meet face-to-face. Read the resume with analytical eyes. What questions come to mind? Make sure everyone on the interview team does the same. Few things are more frustrating to a candidate than when it is obvious that an interviewer has not even looked at their resume before the interview.
Also, search the applicant’s social media profiles for additional insights into personality and interests that will help you determine how they might fit into your culture. Checking LinkedIn can give you a more complete view of job experience and connections than is included on the resume.
Let the interviewee know who will be in the room. “Don’t blindside people with a 10-person panel interview when they think they’re just coming in to talk with a hiring manager or someone in HR,” writes David Phillips in “How Not to Suck at Interviewing People.”
End the interview by telling them what the rest of the process will look like. How long will it be until you let them know if they’ve made the cut? Are there additional interviews after that? Of course, once you set expectations, follow through and do what you said you would do.
It’s important to put the candidate at ease. You may have learned things about the candidate that will generate starting places for initial small talk and even shared connecting points. This is especially important with candidates who are on the shy side. Keep in mind that good interviews should feel more like a conversation than an interrogation.
By all means, prepare a script. Yet if all you do is stick to it, you’re going to miss some good stuff. Be flexible enough to explore a bit when you hear an answer that might spark curiosity. “Many times the follow-up question reveals more than either the interviewer or interviewee expected, writes Forbes contributor Shel Israel in his article about interviewer tips. “You just can’t make that happen when you are following a script. When you do that, your mind very often goes on to your next question and you are not listening carefully to what your subject is saying.”
In the same vein, guard against working through your questions as if you were checking off a list. Listen to the words, as well as other subtle forms of communication. Ask clarifying questions when needed, but don’t repeat ones they have already answered, which would shout that you were not paying attention. The best interviewers follow the guideline of 90 percent listening and 10 percent talking.
A checklist mentality will lead to average candidates, counsels Haden. “An absence of negatives is never a superlative. Outstanding interviewers never get lazy. They never settle for average. You should never settle for ‘good enough,’ because good enough never actually is.”
Know what questions not to ask. As we said, small talk is good, but be careful to keep conversation away from any protected characteristics
Strategically choose another team member or two to join you in the interview. Prepare them as you would yourself, and make sure you are united in your goal. The more perspectives you can gain, the more complete picture you will have of the applicant’s suitability. This team approach may also speed up the decision process, which can only help when competition for top talent is tight.
Beyond the interviewer tips…
If you follow these interviewer tips, you too can be an all-star interviewer, which is one key to getting the best talent. Another is to team up with a recruiting partner who knows how to connect you with the best candidates to begin with. Call Bradsby Group today to discuss the types of talented individuals you need on your team.