Interviewing can be scary. Not just for the candidate being interviewed, but for the person conducting the interview as well.
There’s a lot at stake when making a new hire. A bad hire is extremely costly, and not just monetarily, but also in time-wasted. That’s why it’s so important for the interviewer to get it right the first time and not cut corners out of fear or desperation.
Whether you are an employer hiring your very first employee or you now find yourself in the role as a hiring manager, use these tips in making sure your interviews give you the best chance to hire the right person on the first try.
Know What You’re Looking For
Before you do anything else, you want to first craft a job description that will serve as the starting point for you to weed out candidates that don’t fit. Your job description should clearly define the position title, responsibilities, and expectations, as well as the traits and minimum qualifications of your ideal candidate. Think long and hard about what all this person will be required to do, both in terms of hard and soft skills. Use this job description as a starting point to draft focused interview questions.
Know Your Firm’s Culture
A lot of times cultural fit, more so than ability to do the job, plays into whether a candidate will ultimately be successful at a firm. Knowing your firm’s culture and hiring for that culture can eliminate a revolving door of employees that don’t fit. Is your firm congenial, friendly and family-oriented? Then you probably want to hire someone who is team-oriented, rather than someone who is cutthroat and out for self. Ask questions that will get to the heart of whether the candidate will mesh with the existing culture.
Don’t wing it! You want to prepare for the interview just like you would if you were the person being interviewed. Have a list of direct, open-ended questions already prepared that keep you in control of the interview and will elicit the information you need from the candidate. Think of questions that the candidate may ask you about the position and be prepared to answer it.
Take Your Time
You may be nervous, even if you prepared ahead of time. A lot of times when we’re nervous, we rush things to get it over with as quickly as possible. However, this is bad practice. Take your time when interviewing to make sure you follow-up on what the candidate is saying. Don’t just take their answers and move on. Some responses will require a follow-up question from you that you did not prepare for and will lead to the discovery of additional information. The key to having a thorough interview is to take your time and let it flow organically. Think of it as a conversation.
Don’t think that you’re going to magically remember everything the candidate said. Be sure to write down important points during the interview, as well as your own commentary. Once the candidate has left, compile your notes in either a spreadsheet or some other type of system that you can refer back to and elaborate on your impressions from the interview.
Call for Reinforcement
If possible and applicable, once you’ve gotten a short-list of potential candidates, enlist the thoughts and opinions of the people at your firm who will be working directly with the new hire. They may be able to provide honest judgments and offer insights you may have missed in your interview. Besides, people like to feel a part of the decision-making process, so it’s a win-win.
One of the things that can keep firms from making great hires is waiting too long to make a decision. Especially if your chosen candidate is highly sought after, they won’t be waiting around long for you to make an offer. Once you’ve made a decision and everything checks out, extend your offer as soon as possible to avoid losing them to another opportunity.
Your first interview doesn’t have to be scary if you follow these tips.