6 Tips for Conducting Better Job Interviews #hrbasics

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Despite the hours of work that blogging requires, you may have a hard time releasing the reins to team members and staff once you’ve achieved monetary success. It makes sense – you’ve poured your blood, sweat, and tears into your blog by sharing your story with your readers, so the thought of entrusting your “baby” to anyone else is a tough decision to make. But hiring additional help may be exactly what you need to continue seeing success – you just want to be sure you’re hiring the right people. Use these tips to conduct better job interviews and effectively narrow your search for the perfect new member of your team.

Start With a Phone Interview

Phone interviews are a great way to get a feel for several candidates without investing large amounts of time or money. Focus on keeping the interview conversational, but on topic. This is a great time to ask about background, experience, and general interests. If the interview flows easily and the candidate appears to have the qualities and qualifications you’re looking for, go ahead and schedule a second interview, either in person or on video.

Be Prepared

Never assume you can “wing it” during an interview. Put together a list of questions to ask every candidate, making sure they’re tailored to the position. While you don’t need to ask every question you develop, it’s important to ask all of your candidates the same questions. Not only does this help you compare apples-to-apples when selecting an employee, but it also helps protect you if someone you interviewed makes a hiring complaint against you. By asking the same questions and taking notes, you can prove that your hiring practices are fair and even-handed.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Asking open-ended questions is one of the most effective ways to get a good feel for how a candidate thinks and solves problems. For example, rather than asking, “Do you work well with deadlines?” phrase the question like this, “Tell me about a time you were assigned a project with a tight deadline and how you handled it.” This gives the candidate the opportunity to select an applicable situation that highlights his or her task management and problem solving skills.

If a candidate can’t come up with an appropriate example, or chooses an example that doesn’t really fit the scenario, that speaks volumes about his or her understanding of the requirements of the position. The more you can learn about a candidate’s on-job experience, the better off you’ll be.

Be Personable

Start the interview in a personable fashion to help ease the candidate’s interview jitters. Understand that it’s important for the candidate to get a good feel for you and your personality so he or she can also assess whether the position is a good fit. After you’ve broken the ice, go ahead and dive into the meat of your content.

Ask About “Red Flags”

Most people have a few “red flags” on their resumes. If a candidate has an extended period with no work history, or has switched jobs frequently, go ahead and ask about it without assuming the reason is negative. For instance, a candidate might have been laid off during the economic downturn, or might have taken a leave of absence from work to care for an ailing family member. These situations shouldn’t automatically disqualify him or her from consideration.

Take Notes

Make sure you take notes during each interview. Not only does this help you keep information organized, but it can help protect you in the event of a discrimination complaint. If you can pull out your notes and prove that one candidate had greater experience, or more of the qualities you were looking for, that can keep you out of trouble.

Just remember never to write anything down that could be considered discriminatory – keep your notes factual and based solely on the subjects relevant to job performance. For example, you wouldn’t want to write notes about the candidate’s age, sex, race, or appearance.

Once your job interviews are complete, take your time to think about your decision, and ask for input from your business partner or other staff members, if you have them. If there’s no one else on your team, consider asking a trusted family member or friend for feedback. And if you’re having a hard time choosing between two candidates, don’t hesitate to call them in for another interview, asking someone you trust to sit in on the interview with you.  You might get a different take on an employee you’ve been considering, or someone might point out a negative you didn’t catch.

What are your favorite interview tips?

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Comments

  1. Good article Jeff! I believe that these are perfect for anyone new to the recruiting game. Having so many candidates and resumes can be overwhelming at times. Using a phone interview as a gate keeper will allow you to manage your candidate pool in a more organized manner. I love having a physical paper resume in my hand when I interview candidates. Keeping notes on their resume will help you to take better notes in shorthand. Also, when doing a phone interview keep very detailed notes or even record them for playback at a later time. Interviewing 15+ candidates per position on average, one can easily mix up information.

    Reply
  2. Methodical post. Process presented is about as tight as it gets. The advice around asking the “same questions” is often missed and is very important.

    Reply

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