The process of hiring the best candidate begins with an effective interview. This means that recruitment consultants and HR personnel need to bring their A-game before, during, and after an interview.
You only have a few minutes to get to know, assess, and evaluate someone you may have never met before, or have only spoken to over the phone. Here’s what you need to consider to be an effective interviewer.
Before the Interview
1. Define what you really need.
Don’t post a job just to fill an open position. Start from knowing what your company truly needs. Every employee solves a critical business need.
Instead of thinking of the open position, think of the results that you need that employee to deliver. You’re not just looking for an operations manager. You need someone who can optimize your workflows to increase efficiency and production. Don’t look for a sales director. Look for someone who is great at selling and who can lead a team to sell more.
While credentials and qualifications matter, it’s more important to hire a candidate who can provide the defined results and solutions.
2. Provide candidates all the relevant information.
Great interviewers let candidates know what to expect. Give them all the information to help them prepare for the interview such as when, where, what time, and who will be conducting the interview. If you’re holding a group or panel interview, let the candidate know ahead of time. Candidates don’t have to deal with unnecessary tricks and surprises.
Always remember that an employee’s first day at work isn’t when they report the first time—it’s the first day you engage them in the hiring process. So, ensure that candidates have a great first impression and an awesome experience in your organization.
3. Find out as much as you can about the candidate.
Candidates are expected to do their research about the company they’re applying to, and the same goes with interviewers. To prepare intelligent and relevant questions, you need to know who you’re talking to.
Start with their resume. A candidate’s CV should give you a clear timeline of their educational and professional history. It should also give you insight into a candidate’s interests and dislikes.
Next, do a quick run-through of their social media pages. By going through what they post on social media, you can get an idea of what the candidate likes to do outside work. This also gives insight whether the candidate is the right culture fit.
4. Customize your questions.
So, you’ve done your research. You know exactly what you’re looking for and you’re armed with information about the candidate. Now, it’s time to prepare your interview questions.
Tailor your questions to get the candidate engaged, and elicit reactions and answers for you to determine whether the candidate is a great fit for the job. The right questions can also help you assess for potential. Prepare behavioral and situational questions to discern how the candidate would handle various situations at work.
During the Interview
5. Help a candidate feel comfortable and relaxed.
Many candidates don’t do well during job interviews because they feel stressed. An awkward interview doesn’t mean that a candidate won’t do well if hired. In addition, lack of conversation skills isn’t directly proportional to lack in expertise.
You don’t want to regret hiring the perfect candidate just because of a bad interview. So, make it your goal to help a candidate feel relaxed and comfortable. This will ensure that you get the best out of every candidate during the interview process.
As simple as giving them a compliment before the interview starts is highly helpful. You can also start the interview by asking about their hobbies or interests. Ice breaker questions help candidates relax in the beginning so that you can elicit great answers from them.
6. Make meaningful conversation.
Instead of structuring the interview like a Q&A session, turn it into a conversation between two professionals. Go off-script as needed. It’s the follow-up questions that let you dig deeper and go beyond the usual rehearsed answers.
When something they said sparks your curiosity, ask them about it.
Don’t just tick off boxes or scribble on the candidate’s CV while they’re talking. Listen to what they’re saying. You can miss out highly significant information that can help you decide whether the candidate is the right fit or not. The interview should be about the candidate, not about you.
There’s nothing more annoying than interviewers who aren’t listening. Remember, candidates can easily choose to work for another company if you don’t offer a positive experience during the interview process.
8. Sell the job.
If you think that the candidate is the right fit for the job, allot some time during the latter part of the interview to sell the job and woo the candidate. Explain to them briefly why you think they’re the right fit for the job.
Then, proceed to let them know the perks and benefits of working for your organization, and encourage them to ask questions. You want the candidate to leave the room thinking “I want to work here.”
After the Interview
9. Explain the rest of the process.
After the interview, it’s important to let candidates know the rest of the process. Inform them about when they can expect a call, and what happens should you decide to hire them or not.
Give them information, and don’t wait for them to ask for it.
10. Provide closure.
If your organization is taking more time to decide, make sure to let a candidate know. Whether you decide to hire the candidate or not, make sure to let them know. This shows candidates that you respect their time and appreciate their effort in their application.
Failing to follow-up or provide feedback is unprofessional and even be considered rude. Think about it. These candidates took time out to attend your interview. Return the courtesy and let them know their application status. News, whether good or bad, is better than no news at all.
As HR recruiters, it’s your job to make sure that you’re getting the best out of each candidate during the interview. Make sure you take the necessary preparations before, during, and after an interview.
The initial interview during the hiring process is crucial for recruitment consultants and HR professionals to determine whether a candidate is the perfect fit for the job. Furthermore, it’s the very first step you take to improving employee engagement.
Ensuring a good interview experience will provide candidates a great first impression about your company. Ultimately, this helps improve your brand and company reputation.
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