The Interview Process and Beyond: Preparing for the Before, During and After
Every job seeker knows how important it is to prepare for the interviewïbut it’s just as critical that the interviewer prepares too. If you’re looking for great talent, great hiring practices are absolutely imperative; here are a few tips for how to succeed throughout the interview process and beyond.
Before: Communication, Preparation and Promptness
If other people are going to be interviewing the same candidate, make sure that all of you are communicating about what you intend to ask. This will reduce overlap and increase efficiency; it will also show the candidate that you company is serious about internal communication.
Before the interview starts, spend a little while reviewing the resume and application of your potential hire. This can help you decide which questions are most important to ask, and will also send a signal to the candidate that you respect them.
On a similar note, don’t be late to the interview! If you end up hiring this person, you don’t want to start out on the wrong foot. If you don’t hire them, you don’t want them to scare away other potential job seekers.
Nerves and First Impressions
Remember that the interview process and beyond can be very stressful for job candidates, and nerves can decrease their performance. Do your best to help candidates feel at ease by greeting them warmly and starting with low-key questions.
The impulse to judge the candidate based on your first impression can be difficult to resist, but you shouldn’t be so hasty. They might be a diamond in the rough who’s perfect for your company, and you’ll never know until you give them a chance.
Start off the interview by telling the candidate about the job. If it’s not going to be a good fit for them, then they should know now so that neither of you wastes your time. And understanding the main responsibilities, challenges, and criteria of the position will help the candidate provide more relevant responses through the interview process and beyond.
Planning out your questions is a good idea, but don’t feel like you have to stick tightly to the script. Be willing to improvise and respond to what the candidate tells you to get a better feel for their potential.
During: Take Notes, Listen, and Be Careful
Be certain to take notes during the interview process and beyond. Write down key points, important qualifications, and potential issues that arise from the conversation, so that you have something to jog your memory later.
Don’t spend too much time talking. The interview is about the candidate, not about you; if you spend the entire time yammering then you won’t be able to determine anything about him or her. Try to speak for less than a third of the time.
Make sure that you know which interview questions are legal and which ones aren’t! You should never ask a candidate about their age, race, religion, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, family life, or possible disabilities. You can easily find yourself in hot water for doing so. Also keep in mind that while it’s fine to ask a candidate if they have ever been convicted of a crime, you can’t ask them if they have ever been arrested.
Be sure to find out if the candidate has any questions. This can clue you in about what they’re looking for in a job, what they don’t understand, and how willing they are to learn. Be wary of candidates that have no inquiries.
Make sure that you leave enough time to address their questions, and if there’s anything you don’t know, find out later and follow up.
After: Follow Through and Decide
After the interview ends, let candidates know what will come next. If they aren’t a good fit for the company, tell them so politely rather than skirting around the subject. If they’re still in the running, let them know the timetable and when they can expect to hear back from you. And then make sure that you do actually follow upïdon’t tell candidates that they’ll hear from you in two weeks and then forget to call them.
Finally, compare your notes with everyone else who interviewed the candidate. By getting multiple perspectives on the interviewee you should be able to reach a consensus about whether or not they’re a good fit for the company.
If you take the time to get ready for the interview, keep these handy tips in mind, and then follow through, you’ll be well prepared through the interview process and beyond. Check out some of the other articles here on Mighty Recruiter to learn more about the best hiring practices.