Companies are in constant search for high-caliber, well grounded prospective candidates.
Chasing competent and trustworthy talent has become an urge in today’s highly competitive job market. As a matter of fact, a recent study from Harvard University has recently reported that 80% of employee turnover is attributed to mistakes made during the hiring process, that is employing the wrong people to the wrong positions.
It is mainly within the interviewer’s ability to avoid such dilemmas by following a few essential guidelines during the interview and placing the right questions in the right places.
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- Tip 1: Know what the job is about: More often than not, interviewers tend to commit the mistake of not being abreast of the job requirements and thus rely on their rudimentary gut feel to decide whether a candidate is suitable for the position or not. Do not fly by gut instinct alone; instead prepare your questions in advance and learn everything there is to learn about both the specific position (by taking the time to read through the job description thoroughly) and the candidate (by taking the time to review his/her resume) before the interview stage.
- Tip 2: Offer the information you have about the position. Do not wait for the candidate to ask. Sell him both your company and the position itself. It has become quite hard to find talented, efficient, committed employees nowadays and your role as an interviewer requires you to lay the facts on the table and explain to the candidate why you should be the employer of his/her choice and why the position is the long awaited position that will grant him/her long term success and career advancement.
- Tip 3: Follow a behavioral interviewing technique rather than the traditional interviewing path: Dig deep into the candidate’s accomplishments rather than merely glossing over the candidate’s stated skills and capabilities. This technique accentuates past performance and behavior, and there is no better indicator of future performance than past performance. Let go of customary questions (i.e.: tell me more about you, your strengths and your weaknesses, etc…) and hypothetical questions (what would you do if…) and focus more on getting further into the details of previous actual work experience relating to decision making skills, leadership, resourcefulness, organization, communication, motivation, resilience and willingness to learn (i.e.: Did you face obstacles on the job? How did you handle them? Etc…)
- Tip 4: Use open-ended questions when you are interviewing a candidate and give him/her the time he/she needs to give you an answer. Silence can be an effective tool in such situations and can work to everybody’s advantage. Do not hustle the interviewee with the next question on your list but rather give him/her the opportunity and the time to think before he/she responds.
- Tip 5: Remember that your role as an effective interviewer urges you to listen more and talk less (interviewers are usually expected and advised to talk for about 20 to 30% of the total interview time and leave the rest for the interviewee). Give your candidate the opportunity to talk about his/her competencies, skills and qualifications.
- Tip 6: Watch your body language:
a) Posture: Make sure your shoulders are kept straight and your head up high. A solid posture reveals great self confidence (which assures the interviewee that you’re on top of what you’re doing).
b) Hand shake: A firm hand shake shows interest and extends value to the interviewee. Remember to greet your candidate with a steady courteous hand shake.
c) Tone of Voice: Speak clearly, slowly with an enthusiastic tone of voice. This will put your candidate at ease and reassure him/her that they are in good hands.
d) Eye Contact: Maintain direct eye contact with the interviewee during the interview process. Strong eye contact is usually perceived by interviewees not only as interest, respect and self confidence but also as credibility and trustworthiness from both your part and your company’s.
Last but not least, remember that being professional at all times is a must. You obviously have to ensure your candidate is comfortable enough to want to sit and talk to you and later on become part of your team (especially if he is the right candidate for the job). Be friendly but still maintain your professionalism. Do not indulge in excessive small talk, rather focus on work- related information. Remember the interview process is a two-way street: the candidate will be assessing you and your company just as mush as you will be assessing him/her and his/her capabilities. Always allot some time to answer his/her questions and concerns before wrapping up the interview!
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