Interview Tips for Filling That Position with a Well-Suited Candidate

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Interview Tips for Filling That Position with a Well-Suited Candidate

When your business needs to fill a position, you need to put on your “interviewer” hat. Interviewing can be stressful for the people on both sides of the desk. You can make it a more comfortable situation for both the interviewee and yourself with a bit of prudent prior planning.

An interview is, in essence, a fact-finding mission. With that goal in mind, here are some techniques and tips that may help you find an outstanding employee:

1. Conceptualize the specific duties (and corresponding skills) needed to fill your company’s open position. Avoid relying a boilerplate description of what an “executive assistant” or “manager of operations” is and does. Some company’s receptionists book appointments; in other companies, that is not part of their responsibilities. Define the position in terms of the particular needs of your business. Include such details as:

  • What type (or combination) of training, skill and experience are necessary?
  • To whom will the employee report?
  • How will the addition of this employee benefit the company?

Consult current employees for feedback on what they would appreciate in a new hire; their input from a day-in, day-out perspective can be valuable.

2. Once you have a complete understanding of what the position will entail, you can begin to envision an ideal candidate. As important as the education and experience a new worker possesses is his/her potential to make a good employee in your particular company. You can collect that information and insight as you conduct the interview with questions that facilitate conversation. Such questions could include:

Basic “who are you?” questions:

  • Why do you want to work for this company?
  • What makes you well-suited to fill this position?
  • Why are you available for this position?

Basic “how do you work best?” questions:

  • Would you rather work harder or smarter?
  • How would you handle the situation if “X” were to happen? Present a hypothetical workplace scenario and the interviewee discuss how he or she would handle it. The scenario could be something based on an actual situation in your company, such as, “What would you do if you witnessed a senior member of the staff stealing from the company?” “How would you handle a coworker who made insulting comments to you or another employee?” “What would you do if you were asked to perform a task that was clearly not your responsibility?”
  • Are you an independent worker - or do you prefer collaboration?
  • Do you prefer to work in one central location, do you prefer to work remotely, or do you prefer a mix of both?
  • What is your internal criteria for feeling you’ve performed a job well?

Basic “will we be happy together?” questions:

  • What - outside of work life - are you passionate about?
  • How much flexibility will you need in your work schedule?
  • How do you prefer to receive feedback on your performance (both positive and negative)?

3. Once you’ve plucked some strong applications and resumes from those submitted, do some research on each candidate. Read their blog; look into the clubs and associations to which they belong; check them out on social media. Having a stronger familiarity with the interviewee, you’ll establish a more immediate rapport. The interviewee will feel more at ease, knowing that it was worth your time to understand who they are.

4. And speaking of the interviewee’s ease… You’ve undoubtedly had job interviews in the past and are well aware of how disconcerting they can be. You also knew that because you were uneasy, it was difficult to put your best foot forward. If you want to see your candidate’s true self, help them feel comfortable and free to be themselves.. Avoid seeming judgmental about such things as why he/she left their last position and prior work experience (or lack thereof). Keep it conversational; it’s a more comfortable situation than simply responding in a question and answer session.

5. Although you have an outline of how the interview will progress, avoid sticking to rigidly to it. Actively listen to the interviewee for specific areas of interest or unique skills. If you pick up on something particularly interesting, delve into that area. You’ll gain a deeper understanding of this person who wants to work with you.

The interviewee may also have some questions for you. Be upfront with information about the company and the position. These questions may help you gauge this individuals level of sincere interest in getting the job.

6. Be certain to articulate next steps at the conclusion of the interview. When will the candidate be notified one way or the other as to whether he/she is still in contention for the job? It’s only fair to them and will leave a good impression of your company, regardless of the result.

7. There’s usually no definitive “on the spot” decision on a new hire. Record your impressions of each candidate to revisit after each interview. At that point, you’ll see the cream rise to the top and you’ll be able to choose a select few standouts. Revisit your initial concept of the position and rate each interviewee according to that criteria. That may serve to eliminate or strengthen certain candidates. Bottom line, at this point you’ve gathered all the intel that’s practical, so go with your gut - the person you can envision working, fitting in and excelling at your company.

Interviewing can be stressful, but knowing who and what you need, then getting to know your candidates can make the process highly effective for finding a good match for your company.

How do you interview to find well-suited employees?

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