Interviews are arguably the most important element in the hiring process. Learning how to conduct an interview is not a skill that comes naturally to most professionals. That’s why we’re here to help.
A successful interview can lead to a key hire, while an unsuccessful one can result in the job remaining unfilled. Just as the saying goes, “It takes two to tango”, completing a successful interview is just as much on the interviewer as it is the interviewee. The processes businesses put in place to conduct interviews can ultimately determine the quality of new employees. How businesses conduct them can determine the quality of new hires.
If you’re looking to hire, it is necessary to go through a few interviewing best practices. After all, you want to recruit the top candidate for a position in your company. Having picked a handful of resumes from the pool of applicants, your next step is to invite them for interviews. In this piece, we shall discuss in-person as well as virtual interviews.
As candidates compete against each other to secure a great job opportunity, businesses compete amongst themselves to acquire top talent. Every employer wants to hire the right fit and retain them.
Hiring and training new employees are two processes that exhaust a lot of time and resources. High turnover resulting in low employee retention can be a common problem for businesses, however, by making a few slight changes, they can dramatically improve their ability to identify and capture top talent and weed out the rest.
The following are a few interview tips for interviewers. We believe these will help elevate the experience for you and your candidates:
We get it. Starting out on the right foot can be challenging. There is a reason most applications are thrown out at the first email.
You want to make a good impression. But interviews are already stressful to begin with for most people. Learning how to start an interview is an important skill to have. It helps make the entire interviewing process easier. Let’s begin with the following steps:
We asked Jason Largent (Director of Operations at Net Pay Advance Inc.) how he keeps the tone comfortable in an interview.
“I start off by doing a lot of talking about who we are, what we do, and what our values are. I find that the initial nervousness declines with a little time before jumping into asking questions of the candidate. This also gives me time to evaluate non-verbal cues like listening skills. It’s different with higher level positions, but the majority of the interviewing happens at the entry level. I then begin with open ended questions that allow the candidate to communicate without worrying about answers that may be right or wrong. One opening I use a lot is – Tell me about your work background and what you are looking for in a new position. It may be a little generic, but I expect them to be prepared for it and as such it adds to their comfort level.”
This is when the movie starts after the trailers. Some may even describe it as the crux of the interview. You have opened the floor and set the stage for the candidate. Now it is their time to shine. Below are the steps to follow in this section of an interview.
We consulted with Jason Largent and asked him how he determines if a candidate is a good fit for the company.
“I have specific things that I look for in their answers and behaviors that relate to coachability. I am looking more for attitude and aptitude than anything else. I try to get to the heart of how things ended with other companies as a measure of coachability. Was it a matter of the role or was it more of a personality conflict with co-workers or managers? I also like to know a few things about them personally, what they value, how they unwind, what hobbies they enjoy, etc. What a person does with their free time will tell me a lot. If they have very little to offer it’s likely that they aren’t managing their free time all that well. That will likely result in difficulties at work.”
Keep in mind that it’s always possible to train someone new skills. Picking a person with the right attitude is key!
We asked Jason what are the attributes or dialogue that allude coachability.
“One thing I really like to hear is that a candidate loves to learn new things. I will not ask that question; they must volunteer it. If they can speak to that with some specifics, I will nearly always hire them. What books are you reading? What skill sets have you added recently? Are you a perpetual learner and keeping your learning skills fresh? Tell me about what you learned that helped you grow in a former position. That tells me you’re driven and open to development.”
As an interviewer, you are expected to ask questions. But there are interview questions you need to avoid asking. Some of them are deemed illegal and could land you in legal trouble while others are just invasive and unnecessary. We’ve listed a few questions interviewers need to avoid.
Most interviewers check applicant’s personal social media accounts. Depending on how it’s conducted, this process can cause issues. Viewing a person’s social media may provide you with a lot of this very personal information that you would not otherwise know when interviewing. Sometimes this personal information may sway a recruiter’s opinion of a candidate. It’s good to ensure a potential candidate is behaving responsibly online. But what if they post something about their marital status, or veteran status? What if they post a political or religious belief different than your own? Ethnocentrism (comparing someone’s culture or beliefs using your own as the standard of reference) needs to be avoided at all costs. You do not want to be biased. The goal is to hire the right candidate and steer clear of possible discrimination lawsuits.
Here’s how to conduct a compliant social media screen.
Enthusiastic candidates will ask questions and volunteer information that aims to project them in a favorable light. They will drop phrases like “I would really enjoy performing the XYZ task you mentioned.” or “I would be thrilled to attend the in-office yoga classes you talked about earlier.”
Nothing’s more awkward than an interview coming to a sharp ending. Here’s how to comfortably bring the interview to a close, without forgetting any important information you or the candidate might need. Finish strong with the following steps:
The above interviewer tips are simple guidelines that would work for most professional job interviews. We hope you find them helpful. Interviewing can be daunting for candidates and interviewers alike. They’re trying to land their next big opportunity as you’re trying to land your new star employee. There are wants and needs on both sides. Are you able to provide the tools and the environment for an employee to thrive? Does an applicant seem like they would fit right in with your work culture?
As an employer, you want to avoid turnover and retain your best employees. The first step is to hire the right applicants. You want people who have a strong work ethic and can perform what is asked of them. You also want them to be a positive addition to your team. Some personalities can be trickier than others but in a professional setting, do you think an applicant will carry themselves as such? These are questions you’ll have to mull over either in solitude or with the input and feedback of other people in your company.
A specific trick that Jason swears by is:
I like to ask a candidate what they would do if they were able to do anything they wanted to do professionally, with no restrictions. I like to remove obstacles like the cost of education or the time it would take to become whatever they wanted. I want to know if they possess a creative mind and maintain an optimistic view of the world. You’ll find some very interesting answers but I’m still waiting for a person to reply with astronaut, my personal favorite.
Businesses across the country are hiring, but failing to find the right applicant. This means that you have fierce competition as every business wants to hire the best people. Onboarding and training new employees can be expensive. That’s why you need to be extra cautious when hiring someone. Our resources are meant to provide information to small businesses. We aim to create a learning platform where business owners can discover new ways to improve processes. Let’s combine forces, shall we?
Acumen Connections is a locally owned and operated payment processor in Wichita, Kansas. Our organization seeks to help small businesses meet their goals with real solutions designed by real hardworking people. To help businesses and individuals achieve personal and professional successes, we’re providing new content weekly. Stay up on our posts by visiting the Acumen Connections Facebook, Instagram or Twitter pages, and visit the blog for a full catalog of resources fit for hardworking people.