Do you remember how nervous you were for your first job interview? Making sure you dressed the right way, presented yourself well, and showed up on time? Well, being on the other side of the table isn’t much easier. Sure, it may not be as nerve-racking, but now, more than ever, as a hiring manager or Human Resources professional, you need to make sure your company’s interview process finds the best candidates. Follow these five steps to conducting an excellent job interview.
- Know what you’re looking for You need to understand the position you’re trying to fill better than anyone. What are the skills required? What is the dynamic of the team this person is being hired to fill? If you are the hiring manager, what kind of an employee would complement your skills? If you know what you’re looking for going in, it will be easier to evaluate interviewees in real time, and have a sense of where they rank afterwards.
- Be unexpected After you get over the small-talk, try to avoid the most predictable questions, like, “How would you describe yourself?” Instead frame a question (even as simple as that) to allow the interviewee to talk about their personal experiences, like, “Tell me about an experience that challenged your integrity and how you reacted?” Or, instead of asking, “How do you like working on a team?” ask, “When have you been on a dysfunctional team before? And what did you do to fix it?” If you can get your interview off the beaten path, it will be revealing.
- Stay within the lines It should go without saying that as a hiring manager or Human Resources professional, you need to be aware of the legal ramifications of interviews: absolutely no asking discriminatory or derogatory questions. Contact your HR partner if you are unsure about these guidelines.
- Represent your company well Not only does the interview screen potential applicants, it also serves as a potential employee’s first experience with a company. You should aim to be courteous and forthright about the corporate culture and department the interviewee is looking to work for. Being honest is important; if you sugarcoat the job you’re only going to ensure that there will be unhappy employees down the line.
- Let them turn the tables Allowing time for the interviewee to ask questions is a vital piece of a great interview you don’t want to skip. Not only does it give a chance for the interviewee to have any concerns answered, it also reveals to you what’s on their mind. The questions an interviewee asks could indicate if he or she is over concerned with salary, wary of working in a team, self-absorbed, resistant to authority or perpetually unhappy, among other characteristics.
No two interviews are the same, but if you follow these basic steps you’ll be your way to a great interview.