Interview Strategies for Successful Hiring
Keep it simple and straightforward
This article is from The Small Business Hiring Guide
Your company can increase hiring success by applying the right tools to the job, including effective interviewing techniques, thoughtful interview questions and well-orchestrated candidate meetings. Here are some basics to get you started.
Prep Questions in Advance
Create a list of interview questions before the candidate arrives. This upfront planning will keep the interview moving quickly and ensure you get the information you need. It will also help you avoid vaguely worded questions that may be difficult for applicants to answer.
Choose the Right Interviewer(s)
The supervisor who will oversee the new hire typically conducts the initial job interview. If you're a small shop with one person who will conduct the interview process, have other team members talk with candidates as well. Discuss in advance which topics each interviewer will explore. This will generate more comprehensive information about applicants’ skills and experience.
Listen More Than You Talk
When the interview begins, make applicants comfortable by asking a few general questions, and then follow this interview tip: let them do most of the talking. Save your overview of the company and job for the end of the meeting. Otherwise, job seekers might tell you what they think you want to hear rather than speaking honestly.
Avoid the Tried and True
Interview questions such as, “Where do you want to be in five years?” elicit well-rehearsed responses. Instead, ask the unexpected interview question. Watch how applicants think on their feet -- it’s a good indicator of how they’ll deal with day-to-day challenges.
Three Interview Questions to Ask:
• Tell me about a time you needed to learn a new skill.
• Describe the worst job you ever had.
• How do you motivate someone who isn’t doing his or her job?
Three Interview Questions to Avoid:
• Where do you want to be in five years?
• What are your strengths and weaknesses?
• Why are you leaving your present position?
Elicit Practical Information
What types of questions get you the information you’ll need? Scenario-based questions, where you ask a candidate to react to a typical on-the-job challenge, can give you an idea of how a candidate would react. Questions that focus on measurable outcomes, such as “what roadblocks did you face on a project and how did you get around them?” give you insight into
pertinent accomplishments. Follow up when necessary to get the specific information you need.
Talk About Your Company Brand and Culture
As a small company, your company brand is a crucial element to helping "sell" the candidate.
The first component of your company brand is reflected in the functional benefits that you offer, such as health plans, compensation, flexible work arrangements, wellness and telecommuting programs. As well, talk to the candidate about opportunities for growth and career development.
The second are your brand's emotional benefits. Touch on your company's culture - what motivates people to work there, as well as employee-generated initiatives, community volunteer programs and other company traditions.
The third and perhaps most important component of your brand is "the reason to believe." Rather than give the candidate second-hand anecdotes about why your company is a great place to work, consider having one of your employee advocates meet the candidate and share their positive work experience first hand.
Watch the Clock
Decide how long you’ll spend in the meeting and how much of that time will be filled with candidate questions versus your overview of the position. Don’t feel obligated to give too much time to poor prospects, but keep in mind that they’re likely to talk about their experience to others in the community.
Don’t Forgo the Second Interview
Invite strong candidates back for another interview with you or a team member. Ask new questions and repeat a few from the first conversation to test consistency. Does the second meeting reinforce your feeling that the prospect is right for the job? If you’re not sure, don’t hesitate to set up a third meeting.