Interviewing Best Practices

Now that you have decided on a small number of candidates to bring in for face-to-face interviews, we need to explore the best way to select the best of the candidates.

Much of the time I see the process of interviewing being a repetition of what has been done on the phone. That is not the best use of time in this round of interviewing. So, what do we want to accomplish here? Theoretically, you have already screened for the technical background to do the work. You can do more on this front, but we need to focus more broadly. The primary issues that meeting the person face-to-face is that you gain that extra measure of body language as part of the conversation. This allows you to judge more about them as a person and a fit in the organization.

So, how to implement this? First, it is always best to have more than one person interview the candidate if possible. Each person should have a specific focus for the time that they spend. That does not mean that they should not ask any general questions. Without providing some context to each interviewer, they may end up all covering the same ground. The idea is to get a broader view of the candidate in the time available. At the end of the day the interviewing group gets together to give feedback before time causes impressions to fade. If you are a Sole Proprietor hiring an initial employee, you may wish to have a consultant or your spouse talk to them as well.

The questions that you will ask should primarily be open ended. You want explanations and learn how the person makes decisions. It allows you to ask "Why?" One technique that is popular today is the STAR (Situation, Task, Action, Result). There are lots of online resources that can help you with this. But again, the idea is to allow the potential employee to give you a view into how they work. You are looking for their maturity as an employee. This will help you understand if they will fit with you. One question that I recommend is to ask how they made their last large financial decision (purchase a car or home would be examples). This provides a non-work context on decision making.

Finally, you should get references and check them. Their past employers will be highly restricted on what they can say. So, you are looking for former colleagues that can talk to you. You would be surprised by what you get from them. I just did one of these for a friend with an employer that I knew. That prospective employer got to learn what happened while the two of us worked together.

I hope that helps you understand how to use the face-to-face interview as part of your selection process.

Have a great day!

Jim Sackman

Focal Point Business Coaching

Business Coaching, Leadership Training, Sales Training, Strategic Planning

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