Planning: the Key to Effective Interviewing
Have you ever spent extended time with a candidate only to discover after they leave that you are missing a key piece of information? Or, have you hired someone, had the individual fail and realize the reason should have been obvious beforehand? Improved interview preparation will help you avoid these mistakes. The following five steps will help in your interviews:
- Review job responsibilities and accountabilities.Make sure you have a clear job description or prepare a list of job responsibilities. Accountabilities are critical in order to judge the employee’s performance. Therefore, they are important in determining whom you hire and how you interview.
- Establish requirements for experience and credentials. Develop written criteria. For example, does the position require an individual who has previously had experience as a director of education? Determine if someone who has been “number two” in an education area would be a possible candidate as well. If technical knowledge is required, know how to evaluate it through degree earned, university attended, certification, etc.
- Carefully examine the candidate’s resume. Compare job requirements to the information contained on the resume. Make notes on the resume itself. Place a question mark by unclear areas or where gaps exist. These are good targets for questions during the interview itself. Review the resume from the bottom up. Often the least impressive items are on the second page or bottom portion of the resume itself. Note whether the resume outlines the candidate’s background from high school to the present. If not, you will need to fill in the missing information based on your questions to the candidate. You want to make sure something critical has not been left off the resume.
- Review questioning techniques. Remember to use open-ended questions to help probe for additional information. Ask for specifics but, above all, listen objectively. Develop a list of key topics and questions. These should include areas where the resume is unclear or areas where specific experience required is not addressed. Use this as a discussion guide. During the interview, take only enough notes to assist in writing a detailed recap of the interview.
- Choose the setting. No interview can obtain optimum results with frequent interruptions. If you use your office, hold your phone calls. An interview should be conducted in a comfortable setting, which helps the candidate relax. Remember, the objective of the interview is to find out as much as possible about the candidate. People reveal more about themselves in a comfortable situation.
Applying these five techniques will help you conduct a more effective interview and avoid costly hiring mistakes.