Many applicants may respond to your job ads, but not all will be a perfect fit for what your ideal candidate looks like. Interviews give you the chance to get to know the candidates more, way beyond than what they write on paper. An effective interview session will help you select the right person for the role.
Your first important step is to write a detailed job description. Take time to clearly define the responsibilities needed for the role and the qualifications and requirements a candidate should meet to be considered for the position.
This step will help you know what exactly you are looking for and will serve as your guide when you do the next steps. Your job description should not be loaded with bullet points containing several skill sets. Write only what is necessary for a potential candidate to do the responsibilities of the job successfully.
Overdescribing will also overwhelm you with information when you do the interview. Keep your job description short but concise, so you will easily spot red flags and matches when you speak with potential candidates.
A perfect candidate that is a 100% fit to all of your job and personality requirements does not exist. There are some aspects where you would need to adjust and compromise to be able to hire the best candidate from your pool of applicants.
Making a scorecard will help you do this. Assign weights or numerical scores to each of your requirements. The most important or non-negotiable ones should be given the highest weights, while the lowest weights should be given to the nice-to-haves or to those you can be flexible with.
Now that you have your job description ready, you have a roadmap to refer to when crafting interview questions.
If you have identified people management skills as a requirement, write down questions directly related to that skill. You can ask potential candidates how they define people management, why they think it’s important, what makes a good people manager, etc.
Ideally, your interview questions should be situational or open-ended. Doing so will help you better gauge an applicant’s knowledge and experience on the specific skill you are asking about.
During the interview session, take note of each candidate’s answers to your interview questions. Write down answers that impressed you or those that indicate mismatch to your requirements. Make notes also of additional questions or clarifications you would like to ask them during the later part of the interview.
Refer to the scorecard you made from the previous step and include ratings when making your notes.
Taking notes is beneficial if you are interviewing several applicants. You can go back to what you have written when it’s time to decide who among them can proceed to the next step of your hiring process.
From your interview notes, spend some time to probe further on items where the applicant gave definite answers. These can include sales achieved from their previous job, the number of people they managed, etc.
Take note of these numbers, dates, and other concrete data. Ask them again at the latter part of the interview or during subsequent ones to validate their answers. Applicants who gave made-up answers will most likely give you different figures when you ask them again at a later time.
Several short-term roles can be a sign of future problems. Asking your applicants why they left can tell you a lot of things.
If they start saying negative things about their bosses and colleagues, it can be a sign that they are difficult to get along with. This can also tell you that they may have the habit of passing the blame to other people during difficult situations.
Take note also of their issues from previous jobs that they may encounter in the position they are applying for. An example of this is working on weekends. If they complain about working on weekends and you need them to do that for this role, then that is a red flag.
Once you have gone through all the questions you prepared, ask applicants if they have something to ask you. A job interview should not be viewed as an interrogation. Instead, an interview should be an exercise to see if an applicant is fit for the job and vice versa.
It is vital to make sure that the applicant understands the responsibilities of the job, finds the salary and benefits reasonable, and believes that he/she can fit or adjust to the culture of the company.
The questions asked by applicants will say a lot about how much they understood the job responsibilities, their interest for the position, their industry knowledge, and the aspects they value the most in looking for the next role to fill in.
An effective interview session will tell you what you need to know about the applicant’s job history, work ethic, future career aspirations, and expectations of your company. Armed with this information, it will be easy to find the right person that will fill your open positions.