Every business needs to conduct employee interviews. How well you plan for and execute these interviews can directly impact the quality of the staff you hire. I am sure that you have interviewed hundreds of people, but at times we can lose sight of some of the most important factors in the process. Everyone has hired “poorly” and wondered, “how did we get this person, they are not a fit for our company.” We need to go back to basics and set the foundation for successful interviewing.
Before you even being the process with any candidate, you need to do your homework. Every position in your business should have a detailed job description, outlined with roles and compensation clearly defined. You also need some standardized forms to use in the interview that you will use with all potential candidates.
- Review all candidates’ resumes and check start/end dates, titles, and duties.
- Review education and outside interests.
- Develop your core set of questions. They should be a combination of fact finding, problem solving questions, and behavioral questions.
- Please note that you may not ask questions relating to the following: age, religion, disabilities, sexual orientation, marital status and credit record. There are other exceptions and you can refer to your state’s laws for guidance.
- Schedule the interviews and practicals (if necessary for the position to be filled).
- Create an interview agenda. This agenda will detail the who, what, when and where of the meeting.
- Conduct the interview and a quiet and private place. Limit all interruptions until interview is concluded.
- Open with an introduction and an open ended question, “so I see you live in Boston, do you enjoy the city?”
- Clearly outline the position, and give the candidate details about position.
- Make the interview a conversation, not just a question and answer session.
- Listen. Do not dominate the talking, you want to really listen to what the candidate is saying. Ask for more detail, such as “tell me more about that.”
Here are some sample interview questions:
- What were/are your last/present job responsibilities?
- Could you describe a typical day at your past/present job?
- What attracted you to this type of work?
- How do you define success?
- What did you find the most challenging part of your previous job and how did you manage that?
- What might be the toughest aspects of the job if you were to accept the position? What will be the most enjoyable aspects? The least enjoyable?
- What do you think your greatest contribution to the job will be? Where and how do you think you would be able to make your greatest contribution?
Concluding the Interview:
Be clear with the candidate about the next steps. Inform them that there are other interviews. Let them know that there will be reference checks and if they are selected for the position you will let them know by a specific date. Advise them as to how you will be in contact – either by phone or mail. If second interviews are part of your process, also let them know this.
The next steps are fill out your interview form and check references. Select a few candidates and have second interviews if needed. Finally, you want to make your hire decision and let them know.
Planning is the key for all good hires. Like most small businesses, we need good people, so use your current staff and clients for potential hires. After all, they are your best advocates.