Hiring a new employee can be a delicate process. You can use assessment tools to help you weed out unqualified candidates, but the ultimate decision is still made based on the one-on-one interview process. Remember, though, that when you’re dealing with the top candidates in their field, while you’re interviewing them, they’re also interviewing you. They’re deciding why they should choose your company to work at, out of all of their other options.
So what should you do in an interview to put your company in the best light and convince potential hires to come work for you? Here are 6 interviewing best practices that top companies use to hire top employees.
1. Make It a Two-Way Street. The temptation, in an interview, is simply to ask candidates question after question and evaluate their answers. However, it’s much more effective to establish a dialogue with the interviewee. Give them a chance to ask you questions about the company, voice concerns, etc. This not only allows you to show them why your organization is worth working at, but creates more of a bond between you and them, than if they had just sat there answering your questions.
2. Focus on a Few Questions and Make Them Count. There’s a whole host of standard interview questions to ask. Some things, like, “Tell me about your previous work experience,” is information you can easily get from their resume. Others, like, “What’s your greatest weakness?” tell you nothing other than the fact that they read an article on how to answer that completely useless question. You already have all of their qualifications on file. They wouldn’t have made it this far if they weren’t capable of doing the job. At this point, it’s just a matter of getting to know them and seeing if they’ll be a good fit for your company, and if you’ll be a good fit for them. So boil the whole thing down to one or two questions that they can elaborate on and answer in-depth. You’ll get a much better sense of who they are from a few long answers than a lot of short ones. And they’ll appreciate you more for taking an active interest in who they are and what they do, rather than just giving them the boilerplate questions they’ve heard at every other interview.
3. Use Peer to Peer Interviewing. Instead of having applicants interviewed by management, this method has them interviewed by their potential coworkers. Get someone from the department they’d be working in and have that person show the candidate around, asking questions and getting to know them. It eliminates the “in front of the firing squad” mentality for the interviewee and lets their coworker/interviewer see them act more like they will when they actually get the job. It also gives them an inside view of the company and how it works on a day to day basis—not just a sales pitch. By pairing them with someone charismatic and like able, they already have a friend and personal investment in your company by the time the interview is over.
4. Choose Your Interviewers Carefully. Everyone has their own personal biases, which can either work in a candidate’s favor, or to their detriment. It’s standard practice to have a prospective hire interview with multiple people, possibly over the course of several weeks, before they get the job. But what a lot of companies overlook is the importance of who you get to conduct your interviews. They should be chosen almost as carefully as the interviewees. Find two or three people in the company who have experience conducting interviews, and hopefully with a good track record of picking top quality candidates. But also choose people who have different backgrounds and perspectives from one another. This will help you get a better picture of who the candidate is by the end, including their strengths and weaknesses.
5. Conduct Group Interviews. Traditionally, interviews are one on one, but a lot of companies choose to make at least one phase of the process a group effort, wherein several candidates are interviewed together in one room. This helps determine how each one acts and interacts with others, and their general teamwork skills.
6. Listen. This goes back to the very first point of making the interview a two-way street. In terms of both their answers and their own questions, really listen to what they say and engage them. Don’t just go through the motions of conducting an interview and score each answer with a number. Connect and take an active interest in what they’re saying. It will help you get to know them better and more effectively evaluate their worth. It will also make them feel valued and appreciated, which is an important step towards enticing them to take the job.
The interview process shouldn’t just be a standard set of pre-set questions and steps. It should be a living, breathing experience that changes with each candidate. By actively working to make your interviews more productive, you’ll have an easier time finding the best candidates for the job—and an easier time bringing them into your company.
Technology can be a valuable tool in onboarding strategies and achieving your goals with respect to new employees. Paypro offers a comprehensive suite of workforce management solutions that give you the accurate, real-time information you need to make informed decisions. Please contact us with questions – we are here to help simplify your workforce management!