As a Hiring Manager, you probably know a thing or two about running job interviews but a little advice can never hurt!
We’d like to think a lot of this is common sense, that’s why we’re surprised how often good sense proves to be so uncommon! Here’s some interview advice we think all Hiring Managers need to see:
Don’t be late.
We are amazed at how often this happens and you might be surprised by how negatively it is perceived. First impressions really do count and work both ways. Being avoidably late offers a candidate a potentially damaging insight into the way you might operate. If a Manager doesn’t appear to be capable of managing their own time properly then confidence in their ability to lead may diminish. This issue can be made many times worse if you fail to apologise or your lateness isn’t properly communicated to the candidate in advance. Surely it’s just easier to be on time!
Thoroughly read the job description.
Don’t wing it! The candidate is going to ask questions about the job so you have to be prepared and ready to answer them or risk leaving a bad impression. Pay special attention to unusual skill requests and be certain what is ‘essential’ and what is ‘desirable’.
Prepare an engaging array of questions.
Recruitment training is something sadly lacking in most businesses, leaving the poor old management teams to find their own way. Amazingly, many Managers simply print off a CV and walk into the interview with no plan or structure. After all the efforts made to get the candidate through the door its crazy to allow their interest to rely on such a weak approach.
As with most things, preparation is the key. Now, it’s impossible to fairly compare candidates unless you are consistent in your questioning so, in the first instance, simply follow the job description. It is advisable to use the ‘qualify then explore’ technique designed to first establish if the candidate possesses the desired skill or experience (closed question) and then secondly, to ask them to expand on their answer (open questions). Repeat this for every essential and desirable skill and you’ll be able to properly quantify the candidate’s relevance and easily compare the results.
For more information on Open and Closed Questions please click here to see our advice for Job Seekers.
In addition to the easily identifiable skill requirements, the job will also demand unquantifiable traits that need to be explored. The best way is to ask ‘Competency Based Questions’ which are designed to yield a story highlighting the use of said traits. For example, a job may require Leadership, Problem Solving and Initiative which are all things people can easily claim to have. The questions is; to what level? Asking a competency question will give you the answer. For example: “Please give me a relevant example of a situation where you needed to use your initiative to achieve a positive outcome?”
For more information on Competency Based Questions please click here to see our advice for Job Seekers.
It is your job to sell the opportunity.
It is surprisingly common for candidates to report a wholly one sided interview where the Hiring Manager has interrogated them extensively but offered nothing in return. This seems to come from a mistaken belief that the candidates should consider themselves lucky to have the chance of an interview and that it’s up to them to convince the interviewer that they are worthy. This is wrong and completely counter-productive.
For us, this attitude is very frustrating as we go to great lengths to sell the opportunity as desirable and exciting. If the Hiring Manager fails to confirm our pitch we are left with a disappointed, disengaged and disillusioned person who quickly develops trust issues with the recruiter.
It is the Hiring Manager’s responsibility to create the maximum level of desire to maintain control and ensure the best possible selection. Surely it’s preferable to have the options of a full shortlist than to lose a few candidates to avoidable disinterest?
To do this, the Hiring Manager must be clear on what the ‘opportunity’ actually is for an individual, beyond the job spec. People change jobs for all kinds of reasons such as, a better working environment, inspiring colleagues, earning potential, fun to be had, training, career paths, prestige and what we call ‘fuzzy benefits’ like pool tables, play stations and corporate events. One of the best ways to concrete the claims of brilliance is to offer examples of successful employees who have taken advantage of the opportunities available.
Provided that the candidate is on the hook, starry eyed and drooling, you can easily justify bringing in the Spanish Inquisition… and as we all know… NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition !!!
Know your recruitment process & role criteria.
The secret to keeping a candidate’s interest and commitment is to properly manage their expectations. If you don’t know how much the role is paying or what the next step is, don’t guess and risk annoying the candidate. Instead, pre-empt the issue and find out before hand!
Above all, don’t promise anything or imply progress if you have no intention of following through. Some Hiring Managers are frightened of confrontation and avoid delivering bad news and so, instead they offer misleading optimism and false promises which, of course, result in nothing but raised expectations and disappointment.
If in doubt and all else fails, learn a series of magic tricks and dove based illusions to distract and wow them into submission. Works every time.