by Derek Ross
With the NFL Draft a few weeks ago and the NBA Draft approaching, it got me thinking about how teams draft or “hire” the right players or “candidates”. One of the first steps in choosing the best candidates for the job is in the interview stage. Professional teams not only evaluate the athlete’s skills on the field, they also send them through a rigorous interview process.
Let’s look at a few interviewing best practices to ensure your process will help you net the best employees.
Be Prepared Prior to the Interview
Send the interviewee an email confirmation with the pertinent information they will need. Include the basics, such as the interview date, time, location, who they are meeting with, a contact number and even the company’s website. This will help the candidate properly prepare for the interview. Your candidate will also appreciate details about parking and/or driving directions to the interview site, especially if it is in a larger city or hard-to-find location.
Have a quiet room or office reserved for the interview. You want an area that will be free of all distractions. Nothing will put off an applicant faster than being interrupted during the interview. It is highly unprofessional and can give the company a bad reputation.
Ask the Right Questions
You should have a set of relevant questions you ask each applicant for the position. Be sure to have paper and pen ready for note taking. You never want to mark notes on their resume or application. To make the most of your time with the candidate, ask open-ended questions so that the applicant cannot answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Examples of such questions could include, “Why are you currently interviewing?”; “Tell me about your current or last position. What did you like/dislike?” Have them explain any gaps in their resume. Ask why they feel their skills and background fit this particular position.
Also include behavioral-based questions to ensure the candidates are drawing from previous experiences or “real-life” situations. Examples of behavioral questions would be “Tell me about a time when you set a goal but didn’t accomplish it? How did you handle it and what was the outcome from not meeting your goal?” Another could be “When working on multiple projects, how did you prioritize your tasks?” Asking the right behavioral questions can tell a lot about the candidate’s skills, ability to handle situations correctly, and gives a glimpse into their personality.
Avoid the ILLEGAL Questions
It is against the law to discriminate against an applicant for reason of race, color, religion, sex, age, disability, pregnancy, national origin and other factors. The most commonly asked illegal questions are “How old are you?”; “Do you go to church?” or “Which church do you belong to?”; or asking a woman if she is thinking about starting a family in the future. It is best practice to STAY AWAY from questions referring to any of the protected classes listed above and from a potential lawsuit.
Don’t Talk Too Much
Speaking through the entire interviewing will not only keep you from getting the information you need about the candidate, it may also send a negative message about the company or the position. You need to give the candidate time to answer your questions in full. Equally important, you must also give the candidate a chance to ask questions. As you are prepared to ask questions of the candidate, they most likely have a few good questions for you, too. If they do not have any questions that can also be a red flag. Most candidates will at least ask a few general questions that may not have been addressed previously, such as salary, company benefits, normal business hours, flexible schedules, etc. Make sure you have your answers ready too!
End the Interview on a Positive Note
Some employers take the prospective candidate on a tour of the office or facility. This can take the interview to another level, providing an opportunity for more general conversation and may spark additional questions from the candidate or the hiring manager.
Wrap up the interview by giving the candidate a good idea of what to expect next. If you can, give them a rough idea of how long you anticipate the interview process to take for this position. Tell them that you will be in touch with them in the next few days or weeks. Finally, shake hands, thank them for the time coming in to interview and assist them out of the office.
The interview process can vary greatly depending on the organization, the hiring manager, and the position being filled. I would not expect anyone to follow these steps exactly; however this will give you a great starting point for creating a positive interviewing process that will help you build a strong, winning team.
If you have questions about your interview process, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to help.
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