You have collected a number of resumes, but the process of actually hiring someone seems overwhelming. Where do you start? Once you have selected the resumes, as discussed in Part I, the next step is the interview process. How can you get the most out of an actual interview?
With the right preparation an interview can flow smoothly and be very informal. The goal of an interview is to find out as much as you can about the candidate so you can determine if they are a fit for your company and the position you are trying to fill.
Give the candidate your undivided attention. People don’t like to feel rushed or unimportant, especially during interviews. Create a comfortable atmosphere, free from distractions and interruptions.
Have a copy of the candidate’s resume in front of you. It is also a good idea to have the candidate fill out an application. This will give you information that isn’t always included on the resume. An application can also help catch any discrepancies in the resume. Always ask for a long-term contact number so you can have multiple ways to contact the candidate.
Have the candidate review his or her career history for you. It is usually best to start at the beginning of the career to present. This will allow you to gain an understanding of the candidate’s progression and accomplishments in the industry.
Ask for the name, title and contact information for each of the candidate’s supervisors. This will help you understand the candidate’s position better as well as assist you in the reference checking.
Describe the responsibilities and short and long term goals of the position for which the candidate is applying. This should elicit questions from the candidate, and the type, clarity and quality of the questions will help you eliminate weaker candidates.
Sell yourself, your company and the opportunity. Even if the candidate you are interviewing isn’t right for your current opening, that candidate may be a fit for a future position. You are representing your company and you should take every opportunity to put your best foot forward.
Explain to the candidate how the interview process works with your company. You should inform them of the next step, the time line for the position to be filled and when they should expect to hear from you. Be sure to contact the candidate when you say you will. Candidates appreciate timely follow up, even if it is to let them know they are not being considered.
This part of the hiring process can be time consuming and difficult. However it is very important. With the reluctance to give out references these day, you may have to ask for a personal reference. You can also go to vendors or former supervisors that are no longer their immediate supervisor. Many times it is beneficial to get references from people that reported to the candidate. This helps you get an idea of their management style and teamwork abilities.
You have identified a qualified candidate, checked references and now all you need is to bring them on board, but what about the counter offer? It is always best to discuss this with the candidate before giving them the offer.
Questions like: “What will your boss do when you put in your notice? What would it take for them to keep you? What have they done in the past when people have given their notices?” The answers to these questions will help you to formulate the offer.
After each interview, read through and answer a list of prepared questions to help you determine whether or not to pursue the candidate.
Did the candidate appear to have the specific skill sets required? If not, what was missing? Too strong, too weak?
Did the candidate have the depth of experience necessary? If not, what was missing?
Was it a good personality/style match?
Did you discuss the candidate’s background?
What did you like? What were your concerns?
How would you evaluate them against any other candidates?
Did you discuss money?
The entire interview process can be one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of your own job description. However, if the interview is well planned and you know the information that you need from the process ahead of time, you might find that you can actually enjoy interviewing. But more importantly, you will be able to pick out your company’s next super-star when you see him or her.