With the economy seemingly picking up of late, many companies are telling us that they have started taking on staff again, albeit slowly and intermittently. Many managers are not practiced in interview skills, so it may be good to reacquaint yourself with some ideas if you are about to embark on a recruitment drive, or simply thinking of taking on another person:
• Lay the foundations effectively. You’ll present a poor image of your company and yourself if you approach an interview unprepared. Know the purpose of the session, familiarise yourself with all relevant materials and prepare a set of questions in advance.
• Focus on your objectives. Know what you are trying to achieve and focus on what information you need, so you can prepare your questions and mindset.
• Remember that most people make up their mind on a candidate in the first four minutes. Resist the temptation to do that every time, as there may be something coming up later in the conversation that you’d miss if you aren’t careful.
• Remember, too, that an average candidate who follows a few poor ones may seem particularly good.
• Sell the positive aspects of your company and department to the interviewee, as well as seeing how they sell themselves to you. You might end up offering the job to someone who turns you down because they don’t see the benefits of working for you.
• Beware of the legal issues that always have the habit of coming back and biting you. Get up to speed on the latest employment law changes in respect of what you can and can’t ask. If you haven’t interviewed for some time, you may just drop in that inappropriate question.
• Take note of important points the interviewee brings up. You can use them later to justify your decision to employ them or not.
• If they are going to become a new team member of an existing team, consider if it would be worthwhile having some selected candidates spend a while with the team, to see how their possible colleagues rate them. If existing team members feel they have had a part to play in the new person’s employment, they are more likely to greet them into the team more effectively. Similarly, if they don’t feel the candidate will fit in, they can let you know before you make a mistake.
• After the interview, review and elaborate on your notes, record facts and review the data you’ve gathered. Complete these notes before interviewing anyone else, so you don’t get confused or mix up your thoughts between two or more candidates.
With adequate preparation, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t successfully recruit new personnel even though you’ve been out of practice for some time. And remember: the interview process should fill only a supporting role in your company’s selection criteria.