Seven tips for conducting an effective job interview
Tell people in advance the topics you would like to discuss so they can prepare
Before you meet candidates face to face, you need to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in a new hire so that you’re asking the right questions during the interview.
The virtual stack of CVs in your inbox is winnowed and certain candidates have passed the phone screen. Next step: in-person interviews. So how can you tell if a candidate will be a good fit? As an interviewer, your job is to assess candidates but also to convince the best ones to stay. Here’s how to make the interview process work for you – and for them:
1 - Prepare your questions. Before you meet candidates face to face, you need to figure out exactly what you are looking for in a new hire so that you are asking the right questions during the interview. Begin this process by compiling a list of requirements for the position.
2 - Reduce stress. Candidates find job interviews stressful because of the many unknowns. Tell people in advance the topics you would like to discuss so they can prepare. Be willing to meet the person at a time that’s convenient to him or her – and explain your organisation’s dress code.
3 - Involve (only a few) others. When making any big decision, it is important to seek counsel from others, so invite a few trusted colleagues to help you interview.
4 - Assess potential. You should ask yourself not only if this person can do the job today, but if he or she can do the job a year from now. Ask the candidate how he or she learns and for their thoughts on where your industry is going.
5 - Ask for real solutions. Don’t waste your breath with absurd questions like: what are your weaknesses? Instead, try to discern how the candidate would handle real situations related to the job. Explain a problem your team struggles with and ask the candidate to walk you through how they would solve it.
6 - Consider “cultural fit,” but don’t obsess. Much has been made about the importance of “cultural fit” in successful hiring. However your perception of a candidate’s disposition is not necessarily indicative of whether he or she can acclimate to a new culture. You want to see if they can adjust.
7 - Sell the job. If the meeting is going well and you believe that the candidate is worth wooing, spend time during the second half of the interview selling the role and the organisation. Bear in mind that the interview is a mutual screening process. – Copyright Harvard Business Review 2015
Previously published in The Irish Times.
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