Interviewing someone else for a job is a big responsibility. You are deciding not only the futures of one more people. But also your decision could shape the company you interview on behalf of. We looked at how to conduct the perfect interview.
I always think that an interviewer should put in as much work into an interview as the people applying for the job. You have a big decision to make and should not breeze in without doing your own preparation. Preparation should be more than looking at someone’s résumé. They should think about what questions will inform you about the strengths and weaknesses of the candidate. You should really examine the CV and consider an approach based on what is written down. Do not go off gut feelings when making appointments, but the basic evidence that you have about someone’s suitability for a role. That is fairest for them and you, and best for the company hiring.
It may seem obvious to say it, but you must know what you want to see and hear from a candidate before you walk in the room. The worst thing you can do is just breeze in and wing it, deciding on a whim whether someone fits the bill or not.
Do consider carefully whether you have set the qualifications bar correctly. Qualifications are not everything. Don’t demand candidates have them for the sake of it. This all depends on the role of course, but essentially when you boil it down, you simply require someone who will be brilliant at the role. And work well in a team, be reliable, trustworthy and the like. And having certain qualifications does not make all those qualities more likely. Knowledge can be gained in multiple ways, as can character and personality.
Once you have your candidates, and know what you want from a potential future employee, then you must plan the structure of your interview. Do not freestyle your way through it. It is best you offer the same experience to all your candidates and one that gives you the best chance of picking the strongest candidate. So consider carefully which questions you wish to ask.
This is subjective, naturally. But i really do hate interviewers who have a certain style that they seem to think helps them make great decisions. And sort the wheat from the chaff. Invariably they are helping no one. Those that are either over friendly or extremely tough on interviewees. Surely the best option is to be neutral. Do not put people under pressure, nor guide them to answers you desire.
Unless the job is specifically to be good to interviews, a role that of course does not exist, then you should not base everything on interviews. Look, some of simply freeze in an interview situation, some of us prosper. Does it matter for a job in accounting? Well in some jobs it can be a problem not to come across well in an interview, especially sales jobs. So it depends on the role you interview for.
It may not be the questions you have noted down that tell you the most about the candidate, but the questions you think up after they give initial answers. You want to know about real experience and not hypothetical situations. So always concentrate on that. But be ready to adapt to answers and shape the interview so that you get a fully rounded impression of the person on the other side of the desk. Put the candidate at ease, and do not try to catch them out. It achieves nothing.
When writing an article like this, there is an assumption that every interview is the same. A person sits in a room and one or more people fire questions at them to see how they react. For many jobs this may well be the best way to assess a candidate. But for many jobs it is if little use, and it is much better that you see people in action. Think of a trade. Would you not really see a plumber display their aptitude at plumbing rather than tell you an example of them responding well to adversity? The key point is – adapt your interview to the role in question.
Do not make decisions on hunches, a feeling or more. Use evidence and evidence alone. We all have prejudices at some point, but you must ignore them when deciding who to give a job to. It is not about who you would prefer to see in the office, but who is best for the job. And this impartiality must extend to your own company. The candidate may well have their own questions to ask you, and you must answer honestly. Do not build up the company to some impossible ideal that a successful candidate will soon realise was not true. Anyone joining the company must be aware of what awaits them, or you may have to interview all over again before long. This is a relationship that has to work for both parties.