As a hiring manager, it’s your responsibility to find the best fit for the job, every time. Although it may sound like a simple task, the interview process is more involved than just asking a few questions and finding someone qualified for the position. You must take into consideration a variety of factors before welcoming someone into your company. Throughout my career, I have often been asked to provide insight into interviewing candidates. Below are my top five tips to help you narrow down your options and choose that one perfect person who is right for the job.
1) Know What You Want
A sufficient amount of time should be spent thinking about exactly what you are looking for in a candidate. Not only should you identify the necessary professional skills, but also determine characteristics, such as personality, attitude and communication style that are needed to fit within your company and your team. For example, would a person who is reserved fit well into a team dynamic that promotes an open and collaborative work environment?
Once you understand the important things to look for in a candidate, take a close look at your team. What are your strengths and weaknesses? Aside from basic qualities, what should the ideal applicant bring to the table? Where do you need the most impact, and is there a void or a place where could you use more attention? This will enable you to find a well-rounded individual who will complement your team, rather than someone with only a great resume, impressive skill set or attractive personality.
2) Put the Candidate at Ease
Countless times I have heard comments from candidates that they were stressed throughout the interview process, were not sure how it went, thought it was a tough interview, couldn’t get comfortable or weren’t themselves. This all has to do with the hiring manager making the interview a matter of business and not adequately relating to the candidate. For hiring managers, you will get more information to make a quality decision from those you have connected with. This is accomplished through a relaxed and comfortable conversation. To ensure that the candidate is comfortable with you, take five minutes at the beginning of the interview to make small talk and get to know the candidate and relatable interests. For example, ask about the drive into the office or if the building was hard to find, offer coffee or water, or talk about a local sports team, the weather, etc.
Most of all, remember that candidates should never feel like they are taking an exam. Rather, they should feel that they have made an investment of their time to get to know the company and people they will work alongside, should they take that step in their career.
3) Ask the Right Questions
If you are well prepared for the interview process, this should be an easy one to mark off the list. While there are standard interview questions that should generally always be asked, you should take care to ask questions that are relevant to the specific job the candidate is interviewing for. Prior to your first interview, develop a list of questions that you plan to ask during the course of the interview. This will help keep you on track, keep your evaluation consistent between all candidates and ensure you don’t miss the important questions. Be sure to keep in mind that open-ended questions allow the candidate to go into details that you might otherwise miss, helping you to get to know more about who they truly are.
4) Make a Good Impression
Not only are you interviewing the candidate, the candidate is interviewing you. Every candidate is hoping to not only find a job, but a career with a workplace where they fit in and enjoy their work. They want to be in an environment where they are comfortable and surrounded by people of similar character. It is your task during the interview process to be the face of the company and to make a great first impression. But it is also important to never be misleading regarding the company atmosphere. Candidates today are more aware of what they want and are not looking for a sales pitch, but rather accurate and heartfelt information about why they should join your company.
5) Give the Candidate Time to Speak
Although you may want to provide a detailed description of the opportunity and the company itself, it’s important to leave ample time for candidates to answer questions thoroughly, as well as to ask any questions they may have. Take the time to fully hear their answers and to evaluate them carefully. Also, paying close attention to their questions will allow you more insight into what exactly they are looking to get out of the job. For example, if their questions revolve around salary and benefits rather than company culture and job responsibilities, it’s a good indication that they are more interested in what they can get out of the new position rather than what they can offer.
I have always found that both interviewer and candidate benefit from genuine two-way communication. Like many relationships, if you have authentic conversations and attempt to get to know each other, you will truly get the most from your interviews, including the information you need to make a quality assessment.
Keeping these five tips in mind throughout the interview process will allow you to focus on finding the right person for the position. Every job may have its own special circumstance that requires this formula be tweaked a bit, but the basic principles remain the same.
David Solano is a Senior Executive Search Consultant for vtalent. If you have any questions or need vtalent’s assistance throughout the recruiting process, please feel free to reach out to David at firstname.lastname@example.org.