A robust interview process is one key way to ensure you bring the top talent to your organization. You may think the interview is the responsibility of the interviewee: The onus is on them to demonstrate their competency and skill. Right? Well, not quite. Although interviews are certainly the time to get to know each candidate, you’ll be able to learn much more about them by properly introducing yourself and the organization, asking the right questions, and probing their answers.
1. Don’t Forget to Prepare!
Too many employers consider interview preparation solely the responsibility of the interviewee. First, make sure there is a suitable room available for the interview. It should be in a quiet space free from interruption. The room should also be tidy and professional – remember, this is the interviewee’s first look at the organization. They should see a place where they’d like to work. If there is an interview panel, make sure each member on the panel has a printed copy of the questions and there is an understanding who will be asking which question, and in what order.
2. Split the Talking Time 30/70
While the interview is an opportunity for the interviewee to share their competencies and experience, it is also a time for you to briefly supply more background about the role and the organization as a whole. For this reason, talking time should be ideally split 30/70 between you and the candidate.
Many employers veer too far to either extreme: Either they speak the whole time, and don’t allow the candidate to fully express why they are right for the role; or they barely speak at all outside of asking questions, which can feel unfriendly and intimidating. At the bare minimum, open the interview by welcoming the candidate, introducing yourself and other members of the interview panel (if applicable), and explaining the structure of the interview. Then, you should give them a chance to ask you any questions. If they are a good candidate, they will surely have some!
3. Use the Funnel Technique
The funneling technique is an interviewing strategy to help you elicit more detailed answers from the candidates. It offers a way to ask progressively more targeted and narrow questions to discover specific answers relating to the interview question.
Let’s start with a broad question: “Can you tell us about a time when you had to work as part of a team to reach a professional goal?” From there, you would ask a follow-up question to probes their answer to reach more specific details. The next question could something as simple as, “How did you feel about that?” From there, you could ask further probing questions to elicit even more details. This communication style is called funneling. It is a great strategy for getting at the information you want to know – i.e., a candidate’s feelings about a certain situation. Start with a broad question, and then continue to probe from there.
4. Give Valuable Feedback
Giving feedback isn’t always feasible. Often, there are too many candidates, or too little time, to provide feedback with each applicant. However, if you give feedback, make it as specific as possible. Be upfront with them about the areas that could use improvement. Constructive and specific feedback is what will be most useful to the candidate going forward; vague comments will not help the applicant understand why they were not successful. If the feedback isn’t valuable, then giving it is a waste of their time and yours.
5. Make the Offer
All candidates should be made aware of when they will hear about the results of their applications. There is a huge variation in the amount of time various organizations let candidates know this information – some let the successful candidate know within twenty-four hours, some within a week, and some within a few months. You’ll know what is most appropriate for your organization. Remember, it doesn’t matter as much when you let them know, but that you stick to the time frame you give them in the interview. All of us remember anxiously awaiting to hear if you’ve gotten the job, only to have to keep waiting. It’s professional (not to mention polite) to follow up with candidates in a mutually understood time frame.
In an increasingly competitive market, it can be difficult to recruit the top talent in your field. Attracting the best candidates is often the difference between company success and company stagnation. These interview tips will help you identify who among your interview pool is best-suited for your organization, and who will help you achieve your business goals.
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