Preparing for the Candidate Interview 101: Before, During & After
The interview is your chance to really get to know a job candidate. A wrong hire can really make the difference in how productive your company can be, so you really need to take the time to find the perfect employee. That requires a little bit of preparation on your part, and when it comes to preparing for the candidate interview, there are certain actions you need to do before, during and after.
Before the Interview
You should schedule interviews throughout any given day, and you should have about 10 minutes between each one. These breaks will give you a chance to unwind and mentally prepare yourself for the next person to come in. You should have a list of questions ready, and you should have already thoroughly gone through the applicants’ resumes to have a sense of what they have to offer.
Before the candidates come in, you should make sure you have created a warm, welcoming environment. Interviewees will be nervous enough as is, so you should make them feel comfortable by greeting them with a handshake. Something else to keep in mind as you are preparing for the candidate interview is that you do not want to judge a book by its cover. While first impressions can be useful to an extent, you might be losing out on a great worker if you judge too quickly. Save your reservations until you have really gotten to know somebody.
During the Interview
There are a few specific things to keep in mind while you are actually interviewing the person. First, you want to be certain that you are abiding by all laws concerning what you can and cannot ask during an interview. That includes anything related to race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and additional personal information.
While you should have a few questions ready to ask, you need to be on your feet during the interview. That means being ready to ask questions on the fly as they arise. A candidate may have said something that was intriguing, and you want to get more information about it. Be open to these kinds of impromptu inquiries. You should be taking notes while you are speaking with the applicant. There is no need to write every single sentence down on a piece of paper, but you can jot down little things like skills or experiences that would come in handy. You want to be sure you remember them.
The rule of thumb to follow as you are preparing for the candidate interview is that you should spend most of the time listening. Most employers follow the 80-20 rule, which means the interviewee does 80 percent of the speaking while you talk 20 percent of the time. This ensures you get the fullest picture of a candidate possible and that you do not overtake the conversation. Finally, you want to reserve some time at the end of the interview for the candidate’s questions. He or she may have some questions, and you should give them the opportunity to address anything that you did not bring up.
After the Interview
There is still more to be done directly after and following the interview. As soon as the candidate has asked any questions, you should give him or her a timeline of when a response should be expected. There may be secondary interviews to conduct, so you should mention that. Otherwise, just tell them when they will hear an answer one way or the other.
Preparing for the candidate interview also means being ready to speak with other people about the applicant. If it was a group interview, then talk with your colleagues about what everyone thought. You can also talk with the person at the front desk or anyone else who interacted with the candidate to gauge their opinions. There may be some differing opinions, but you should reach some kind of consensus regarding a candidate’s quality.
Once you have chosen your new employee, you want to reflect back on the interview process. Think about the questions you asked. Were some of them more beneficial than others Did the responses to certain questions not affect your decision in any way You will likely need to conduct interviews sometime in the future, and you should always be looking for ways to improve upon your selection process. You always need to be learning and growing as an interviewer.
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