Monday, September 1, 2014

Good Interview Practices: The Hiring Manager's Perspective

As a hiring manager, you may underestimate the value of a well-planned interview and interview process. It makes good sense to go the extra mile to ensure that the process is thorough so that the final result is rewarding for you and the organization. Not taking this process seriously can mean a poor employee selection, which will also cause your management to look poorly upon you and your decision.
Do Your Homework
If the position is a new one, make sure that all stakeholders agree as to how the position will fit within the company's priorities. Revisit the job description and review how each credential, skill or personal quality fits into your company's operating priorities.

If the position fills a vacancy, you need to consider why the prior employee left the position. Did the prior employee have difficulty with the role, team or organization? If so, identify and take corrective measures before you select candidates to interview.

When you are sure about what you want, you are more likely to identify professionals who fit the bill.

Evaluate All Candidates Based On Similar Criteria
Before starting your interview process, determine which skills and priorities are most important for success. Next, create a list of assessment benchmarks for each. Then, evaluate all candidates based on your check-list. When all candidates are asked to meet similar criteria, you can trust your result when one emerges as the candidate of choice.

This approach is helpful when you are reviewing two equally qualified candidates. You can use your checklist and the priorities you have set to objectively determine which candidate is the better fit for the role you want to fill.

You will also find the written checklist helpful when you discuss and defend your final candidate selection to your department/organization's management. When having that discussion with your management, refer to the checklist document.

Ask Direct and Relevant Questions
Your job is to get to know each candidate as well as you can. Chances are the candidates will prepare well. They will have searched the web, read your literature and have a working familiarity with your operations. Use your questions to figure out which candidates are responding with stock answers and which are thinking critically about the challenges you face.

Successful candidates will reveal themselves because of their command of the issues, their constructive suggestions, their humor, and the ease with which they communicate. You will discern a level of honesty, clarity and hopefulness in their responses. You will want to ask more, talk more and engage them more fully in the process.

Less qualified candidates will avoid difficult questions, may refrain from frequent eye contact, and communicate their uneasiness both through their responses and their body-language. Such candidates may even jump into a salary or benefits discussion before you have had the opportunity to assess their abilities and credentials fully.

Filter Out Poor Candidates Quickly
If a candidate commits a significant interview mistake or discloses that s/he lacks key credentials for the job, have a way to politely and firmly terminate the interview. This will eliminate the annoying situation where you have come to judgment on a candidate and are forced to spend time on a full interview. 

Sell Your Organization
Candidates come to an interview to pitch their skills and their willingness to work with your organization. You should do the same when you meet well qualified candidates. Come up with a list of departmental and company attributes worth mentioning: organizational culture, profitability, performance within the industry, etc. You want the promising candidates to continue to consider working for your company after the interview.

Making a good hire depends, in part, on having a positive interview experience with your preferred candidates. The more you have thought about the interview and interview process, the better your chances are of making an outstanding hiring decision.

I encourage you to leave a comment by clicking on "...comments" below...
David Schuchman