Job Interview Questions
What You Should Know About Conducting Job Interviews
Hiring top talent requires a well thought-out recruitment strategy. Think of a recruitment strategy as your playbook for each stage of the process of attracting, screening, interviewing, and selecting candidates. The more thoroughly you approach each stage, the greater your chances of adding the right new team member in the shortest time to hire.
The interview process starts long before you meet your first candidate, and ends when you’re confident with your final selection. Here are helpful tips for making sure your job interview process is a success.
The candidate isn’t the only person who can benefit from extra preparation before the interview. Being prepared can help you evaluate your candidate’s skills more effectively, and sell your company to potential hires.
Determine whether this position will truly bring value to your business.
To avoid wasting time and money, only look for a new hire when it will bring a tangible benefit to your company. Ask yourself the tough questions such as, “What are my goals for the business?”, “Can I afford to hire someone?”, “Does the new role bring skills I don’t currently have?”, and “Can I define the role?”.
Review the job description carefully before posting an ad.
Your job description is the first introduction of your company to potential candidates. The more thorough you are when drafting your job description the better the chance you have of attracting top talent. View What Should I Know About Job Descriptions for a more detailed discussion of the topic.
Decide on the structure of your interview.
If you decide to include a skills test as part of your interview process, plan ahead and arrange the tools that will be most effective for this purpose.
Choose how you will rate candidates.
Are you searching for an experienced leader, a computer guru, or a compassionate aide? Organize and rank important qualifications so you can easily identify the candidates you want to move forward in the hiring process.
Prepare to answer questions about your company.
Each candidate is deciding if they want to work with your company at the same time you are deciding whether to hire them. Mention exciting opportunities, your company’s mission, methods your company uses to achieve employee satisfaction, and other positive aspects of your business.
Look over resumes and highlight key points.
Highlighting resumes in advance of the interview gives you quick reference points to discuss when you’re actually in the interview. This is an excellent way to give your candidate the opportunity to elaborate on certain skills or experiences, as well as answer any additional questions about their background.
Plan your interview questions.
Interviews are most effective when utilizing a combination of broader background questions and more specific position-based questions. See our article on 25 video interview questions for a head start on general interview question ideas. For more specific position-based questions, check out our roster of helpful samples organized by job title.
Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to uncover valuable information about each of your candidates.
Take control of the atmosphere during your introduction.
How you introduce yourself — your first impression — is a great opportunity to set the stage for how you want the interview to progress. Is your company culture light and friendly, or more professional and serious?
Prepare your candidate.
Take a few minutes to describe the structure of the interview and if any skills assessments will be required. During this time you can also outline the main duties of the job and what you’re expecting from your new hire.
Begin the discussion with a few broader background questions.
These can help your candidate open up and make it easier to get to know them. Typical background questions include, “Can you tell me about yourself?” or “Why are you interested in this position?” Background questions make it easier for you to get a general sense of their personality, interests and goals.
Guide your interview towards more specific position-based questions.
After familiarizing yourself with the candidate you can begin to ask the more difficult and position-based questions. This is also a good time to draw from the highlights you made on the resume.
Pay attention to body language.
When listening to your candidate’s answers also observe their body language. Are they confident, personable, and eager? Or are they subdued and uninspired? They are likely to bring the same energy to your team.
Wrap up the interview with your candidate’s questions.
Once you feel like you have the responses to all of your questions, you can allow your candidate the opportunity to ask their questions about the position and company. Great questions mean they’re enthusiastic and did their research.
Give your candidate the final details.
Let them know what the next steps in the interview process will be, for example, a skills test, or a potential round of follow up interviews, or the like. If there are no next steps, you can let them know when you expect to make your final decision and how they will be reached. The idea is to show the candidate that you are organized and respectful of their time and interest in the position. That goes a long way for leaving them with a great impression of your company, regardless of the outcome.
Review your ratings for each candidate.
After evaluating each candidate carefully, compare notes with your colleagues who also participated in the interviews. Look for shared opinions as well as differences of opinion to round out the candidate reviews.
Be aware of who needs training and who is ready to go.
Onboarding and training programs are critical steps when making a new hire. To help ensure a successful transition into your team, be prepared to match the right programs with the needs of your new hire.
If you’re struggling between two candidates, ask yourself this question.
Who really “gets” our company? Maybe two candidates are equal in qualifications, but does one show more passion towards your company’s mission? Did one have prior experience in a company with similar objectives and viewpoints? Does one candidate seem like a better fit with the culture of your organization? This line of questioning can help you decide.
Contact rejected candidates and inform them of your decision.
Whenever possible, try reaching out personally with the news, especially at the finalist stage. The key is for candidates to know their time was well spent interviewing with your company, even though they weren’t selected for the position. Share what you felt were the candidate’s positive attributes; avoid offering constructive criticism unless asked. The effort on your part will leave a good impression of your company, which candidates often share with their peers.
Inform your winning candidate(s) about the good news!
If you followed all the tips in this article and made a final hire selection — congratulations! You’ve accomplished a difficult task and can now begin working with your newest team member.
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