One of the most effective ways to help a company grow and thrive is to attract quality talent. Interviews afford you the opportunity to interact directly with prospective employees and gain information that can’t be revealed on resumes, professional portfolios, or reference letters. It’s important to know how to utilize the short amount of time within an interview session to gain quality information about the interviewee. Consider the following interviewer tips for productive interviews.
Before the Interview
Consider these tips to help you prepare before the interview.
Prepare a list of job qualifications and requirements for the position. To help focus your efforts and questions, review the job posting and discern the most crucial qualifications. Keep in mind how your company brand influences the language of your job postings and reveals the company’s core values. When creating your list of questions gear some to help understand how a candidate displays the skills necessary to succeed at the job and within the environment.
Identify your company’s critical needs. Understand the core needs of your company that go beyond mere job qualifications. Determine the type of personalities and traits needed to strengthen the bonds within your organization and use those to help guide your interview.
Consider company culture fit. Consider the department and existing employees who will be working alongside the new hire. Understand the type of individuals they work best with and envision how each candidate can contribute to the team they will be joining and how they will fit within the culture of the company.
Set aside time before each interview to review the candidate’s documents. When conducting interviews, you may be doing one a day or several within a few hours. It is a good idea to leave a few minutes of time before each interview to review each applicant’s documents and familiarize yourself with their job history and strengths. This extra time will give you a more holistic picture of the candidate you are about to interview. It affords you the opportunity to ask any prior experience questions based on the resume, particularly if you see a gap or notice something you would like to know more about.
Skim over their social media. Consider reviewing a candidate’s social media platforms to understand their values and interests a bit more. Additionally, seeing a candidate’s network of friends and contacts can help you identify more references you can contact to understand the applicant better.
During the Interview
Keep these tips in mind as you conduct the interview(s) for a useful experience.
Be welcoming. Interviewing for a new job is exciting but can also have people feeling anxious. The best way to understand a candidate’s true value is to see them at their best. When greeting the interviewee be upbeat and welcoming to put them at ease during a tense experience.
Begin with professional courtesies. As the interviewer, you are the host so open up communication by asking an icebreaker question, offering a drink of water or asking if the temperature is at an appropriate comfort level. Small considerations can help an interview run smoothly and are common courtesy.
Clarify the interview process for the candidate. Be clear in the expectations and the interview process. Strong communication is key to attracting the best candidate for the position and avoiding any confusion.
Begin slowly and create an easy rhythm. It is a good idea to begin with a few personal questions to help the interviewee relax and humanize the interaction. Ask questions about the person first, such as, ‘Tell me a little about your first job’ to create a relaxing atmosphere. From there you can slowly transition into more detailed questions regarding the actual position.
Allow for a fluid conversation. The flow of the interview should be steady and easy. Keep in mind that you want to understand the value an individual can bring to the company so the questions you ask should allow for elaboration. Provide some thinking time and silent moments to allow the candidate to collect their thoughts. Although you don’t want to dominate the conversation, sharing a bit about your own experience at the company or within your industry can help the interview flow and encourage your interviewee to share as well.
Be ready to respond to questions as well. Most candidates will be curious about aspects of the job or the company policies and atmosphere. Allow the opportunity for them to pose questions as well. Their questions will reveal their priorities at work and can be indicative of their overall interest in the position. Someone who asks about opportunities for advancement might be a candidate for a managerial position or leadership role in the future. Likewise, an individual who is interested in the company’s recycling program might help initiate some more programs to help cut down on waste.
After the Interview
Review the following tips to display a high level of professionalism after the interview.
Provide information about the next steps. At the conclusion of the interview, inform the candidate about the next steps and offer a timeline if possible. It is a professional courtesy to let a candidate know when they can expect to hear back from your company and what method you will be using to reach out to them. This gives them an opportunity to plan for the future and assures them that they will be informed as to their status.
Show gratitude for their time. People interviewing with you are communicating that they want to spend more time at your company, and with you. Express your appreciation for their time and consideration. Valuing time and effort will attract the best candidate and make them want to accept an offer to work with the company.
Give closure. Even if a candidate was not selected to continue into another round of interviews or through the hiring process, be sure to follow up with every candidate if possible. You want to uphold a solid reputation for the company you work with and you want to hire from the most qualified pool of candidates.
Attracting talent can be difficult, so be sure to conduct your business in a respectful manner and keep prospective candidates engaged with your company. For the selected candidate, you can provide a personalized welcome by having a future colleague or mentor reach out and congratulate them. This direct contact helps to build relationships among employees and builds a positive company culture.