Now that you're an employer, job interviews should be a breeze – or at least a lot easier than they were when you were sitting on the other side of the table.
Make a little small talk, review the applicant's resume, toss out a few wild card questions . . . The process couldn't be simpler, right?
Actually, the interviewing task is more difficult than it seems. From the outset of the conversation, interviewers need to know how to ask questions that elicit the information they need to make a thoughtful hiring decision. At the same, interviewers have to avoid asking questions that are unproductive and possibly even illegal.
The good news is that almost anyone in your organization can become an excellent interviewer. With just a little initiative and a few interview tips, you can create standard interviewing procedures and equip your hiring team with the tools they need to get it right every single time.
Have an interview plan. Great interviewers go into the interview process with a plan. It's recommended that even solo interviewers approach the process with a carefully designed interview strategy. But when you're relying on a team of interviewers, a plan takes on a whole new level of importance.
- Identify key traits. Interviews that focus exclusively on the applicant's skills and employment history are a waste of time – that's what the resume is for. Instead, good interviewers use the interview process to place the applicant's job qualifications in the context of his personal and professional traits.
- Develop a list of standard questions. Standard questions are a must in today's employment environment. If you don't ask each applicant the same set of questions, you could expose your company to claims of employment discrimination.
- Encourage real world examples. One of the most effective interviewing techniques is to ask applicants to provide real world examples of their key strengths, e.g. asking an applicant to describe an instance in which they successfully applied their problem-solving skills to a dilemma in the workplace.
- Avoid illegal questions. It is illegal to ask applicants to reveal personal information or any information that could be used to practice discrimination in the hiring process. Questions related to the applicant's age, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation or home life are strictly forbidden by law.
- Commit to timely follow-up. After the interview is over, business protocols require the interviewer to make a timely decision about whether or not the individual will advance to the next stage of the hiring process. There is no set time period for this, but your goal should be to notify applicants of their status within a week or less.