How to Interview Job Candidates: 4 Key Tactics
If you’ve ever been a job candidate in an interview, you know that the process on that end is most likely nerve-wracking. While many applicants would much rather be on the other side of the equation, being a successful interviewer requires lots of can-do, savvy, skill and initiative, just like being a successful job candidate requires. To get on the right track as an interviewer, use four key tactics to learn how to interview job candidates as best as possible.
Key Tactic 1: Understand and Practice Your Role
As an interviewer, your most basic job is to provide insight into potential candidates’ talent and fit for your organization. Ideally, you will avoid a mistake that many interviewers make: they do not account enough for fit, instead focusing too much on talent. The thing is, a candidate’s resume already gives you a good idea of talent, and many hard skills can be taught. Not so much for soft skills and other personality attributes that go into fit. Chances are that anyone your company calls in for an interview has met the minimal acceptable level of talent requirements. As you talk with them, observe candidates’ communications styles, word choices, genuineness, level of preparation and ability to answer questions.
As you learn how to interview job candidates, pay attention to interview configuration. Structure the interview like this: allow the candidate to talk about 80 percent of the time as you discuss interview questions. The 20 percent of the time you spend talking should generally focus on the job description, explaining company culture further, and providing career guidance. Run through several mock interviews before doing your first official interview.
Key Tactic 2: Ask Open-Ended Questions that Lend Insight into the Applicant’s Self-Awareness
When you learn how to interview job candidates, the process entails training on how to glean an applicant’s level of self-awareness. It’s an important task, as self-awareness means a candidate is better capable of finding an employer that matches her desires, needs and values. Self-aware employees also tend to be more engaged and productive. Folks who are not self-aware risk being angry, dismissive or intolerant. Simply put, they are not good for business. Ask questions such as:
-What has your career progression been like
-How have you adapted to meet changing requirements
-What outstanding attributes do you have
-What do you see as the greatest developmental need among [type of position]
-If you had a mentor (or do have one), what would that person list as your strengths, potential and developmental needs
Key Tactic 3: Test the Waters of Compatibility
A job applicant may be as qualified on paper as anyone you’ll ever get into the interview room, but these qualifications mean little if the candidate’s work ethic and work values clash with those of your organization. Thus, an important component when researching how to interview job candidates is to get a feel for a person’s compatibility with your specific company or organization. Be sure to explain up front what the company culture is like. Ask questions along the lines of:
-Given my description of the company culture, what sounds good to you What might kind of scare you
-How do you handle criticism
-How do you deliver criticism
-How many hours a day do you need for successful job performance
-What is your ideal work pace
-What kind of supervision do you prefer (For example, hands-off, or someone who checks in on you every couple of hours)
-When do you tend to be cautious
-In what situations have you been too cautious And when should you not have held back
-What makes you most passionate about this line of work
Key Tactic 4: Assess How Interested the Candidate Is
Some job applicants are hungrier than others to work for your company. You certainly want someone who wants to work for your organization, someone who took the time to research key facts such as your company’s challenges and competitors. At the same time, you do not want someone who is desperate for the job, any job. Ask a few questions to get an idea of how motivated a candidate is to work for your company.
-Why this organization
-What do you see as our advantages Our challenges
-What might our competitors do well that we do not
-What do we do especially well when compared with our competitors
-How does this position figure into your overall career progression
As you explore how to interview job candidates and as you build your track record of making all-star hires, turn to the tools here at Mighty Recruiter for assistance.