Hiring 101: Interviews

Interviews and tips for getting the best hire

Did you know the best time for interviewing as a candidate is at 10:30 AM on Tuesday?

If candidates are paying attention to your interview biases, you should as well. We’ll explore how you can combat your biases and get the most out of your interviews.

Set an agenda

It’s easy for interviews to wander, but a rambling interview isn’t useful, you need to set a very clear agenda. Developing an outline can be as simple as follows:

  • First 10 minutes – talk about the company. Evaluate the amount of research the candidate has put into the company and the position. The candidate will receive a score of 0 to 5 in terms of his or her preparedness for the interview.
  • Next 20 minutes – walk through the resume. Talk about accomplishments and how the candidate achieved those accomplishments. We’re evaluating the candidate’s assertiveness, enthusiasm, positive attitude, warmth, and knowledge of the industry. The candidate will receive a score of 0 to 5 in each of these key areas.
  • Final 10 minutes – discuss the career path, the candidate’s goals and ambitions for the position, the objectives you intend for the employee to meet. Give the employee a chance to explain how he or she will meet the objectives. Score the approach, 0 to 5.

Note that you’ll refer back to your job description to figure out what you’re going to score and look for, specifically, in the interview.

You’re also going to ask specific questions helping you uncover the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in these areas. This can be helpful as it can avoid questions that don’t really tell you much about the candidate or how he or she will perform in his or her job duties.

Tips for conducting great interviews

Most of the time you’ll choose a candidate on the basis of a single interview. Avoid certain interview questions and tactics and follow the tips below to get the most out of your interviews.

  • You’re conducting interviews, not interrogations. Try to make the interviews a positive, two-way conversation. Use the agenda to guide the conversation and keep it on track, but don’t simply rapid-fire questions at the candidate.
  • Always, always, always be honest about the job and its requirements. If the job requires 25,000 hours of travel every year then you want the candidate who sees that as a benefit, not as a burden. If you say, “There’s a little travel” instead of “You will be on the road 5 nights out of 7” you’re likely to hire someone who is going to be very unhappy, very quickly.
  • Do interview practice runs with someone within the organisation. You’ll get used to the structure of the interview and build your own interviewing skills.
  • Be careful when you hear the word “we.” The candidate might tell you “we accomplished XYZ” when talking about a big project they worked on. While it’s good to have a team mentality, remember you’re not hiring the entire team. Stop the candidate and ask them to drill down on their own specific accomplishments.
  • Ask open-ended questions that forward the conversation. Closed “Yes or No” questions will give you much less information and rob you of the chance to explore deeper.
  • Approach interviews as if you are a detective and get to the truth. Look for congruency between the things the candidate says and the way he or she says them. Watch body language!

In certain jobs, it may be useful to schedule second interviews. If so, there should be some purpose to it. Don’t schedule a second interview to have the same conversation! Schedule an interview to allow the candidate to demonstrate skills, to present answers to a problem you’ve put in front of him or to roleplay the kinds of interactions the candidate will need to navigate on a day-to-day basis. Stay warm, enthusiastic, engaged, and sympathetic to what the process looks like from the candidate’s side of the table.

You may never be 100% sure you’ve made the right choice which can lead to decision-making paralysis. But, by approaching the interview process in a very logical way, you’ll give yourself plenty of tools for making some educated decisions about which candidate is going to be the best fit.

Another key part of getting over your decision-making paralysis includes choosing your candidate quickly. You followed a great plan, so believe in it. Also, if you wait to extend an offer six months after the interview has taken place you might just find out the candidate has accepted another job.

Time to put your skills to use in your next interviews. Use Search Party’s online recruitment marketplace to find pre-qualified, recruiter represented talent. Search Party puts you in charge of the recruitment process allowing you to set your own fees and cut your hiring time.

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John Dietrich

John is the Digital Marketing Manager for Search Party responsible for implementing, tracking, and optimising marketing efforts in the digital space. He's a physics and psychology hobbyist with a strong belief of putting people first in business and life.

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