When interviewing prospective employees, the candidate experience is critical. And, no one holds more influence over a job seeker’s decision to accept or reject an offer than the hiring manager. People want to work for people they connect with – managers who are clear communicators, seem reasonable, and respect their team members.
With that in mind, here are five things to consider as you prepare to interview prospective employees.
1. Thoroughly prepare.
Before an interview, thoroughly read the candidate’s resume and look at their LinkedIn profile. This way, you can prepare targeted questions that give you a deeper sense of the person’s skills, experience, technical proficiency, and education. Just as important, the candidate will take note and appreciate the time you invested in getting ready for your conversation.
2. Focus on what they’re saying.
Job seekers want to know people are paying attention to them. So, during the interview, focus on what they’re saying. Don’t take phone calls, look at your emails, or your watch. Engage them with questions and comments that create a professional discussion. Use behavioral interviewing techniques and ask open-ended questions so they have the opportunity to fill in details about their approach to business, teamwork, and challenges they’ve faced.
3. Paint a picture of what it’s like to work with you.
Remember that interviews aren’t a one way street. They’re also an opportunity for the candidate to learn about your company, team, and the role they’ll play in it. Interviews are the time for you to highlight why your business is a great place to work and why the job presents an exceptional opportunity. You need to sell your company, the department, and the role as much as the candidate is selling themselves.
4. Take your time – but hurry up.
Hiring can be time consuming, and you must dedicate the appropriate number of hours necessary to the process. At the same time, it’s a candidate market and if you go too slow, you’ll lose top talent to the competition. Review resumes as quickly as possible and try to expeditiously schedule interviews. Spend enough time with each candidate to have a meaningful discussion. You can’t get to know someone in 15 minutes, or even 30. Ideally, the person you hire will be with you for a while, so talking with them thoroughly is worth your investment in time. Once you’ve made your decision, act quickly. And, know your company’s hiring process in advance so you can pre-arrange needed components.
5. Collaborate with your team.
When others on your team are involved in the interview process, it’s important for everyone to be on the same page. Work with your colleagues to determine different topics on which each interviewer can focus. In between rounds, quickly share knowledge so team members can reinforce company selling points or probe on the candidate’s previous answers. Also, have each person share why they joined the company and what they like about their responsibilities, the team, product or service, and the working environment. Candidates want to envision themselves at the organization and as a member of your team.
By taking a collaborative approach to interviewing and establishing a real dialogue, you’ll get a true sense of the candidate as a professional and a person, just as they’ll get a sense of you.
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