Finding the right candidate for a job opening at your company can prove challenging. Regardless of the size of your business, it’s not always easy to find the person with the right experience, qualifications, and personality to fit smoothly both into the role and into your company’s culture. At the same time, hiring the wrong person for the position or prolonging the interview process can cost you in time and money. However, a position left open for any length of time can affect your bottom line.
The obvious solution is to find the right candidate the first time around. The best way to do that is to conduct the perfect interview. Here’s what you need to do.
Make Sure You Know Exactly Who You’re Looking For
Before you even begin the interviewing process—and before you even send out posts for the opening—you should know exactly what your idea of the perfect candidate is. This includes their qualifications (education and skills training) and experience (years in the industry or field).
An often overlooked aspect of the perfect candidate is their personality and work ethic and behavior on the job. How should your perfect candidate handle a crisis? How should they interact with their department members, both employees and managers? The perfect candidate’s answers can have as much if not more impact than even their qualifications or job history. Preparing the right interview questions ahead of time can help you determine the kind of person who is most likely to effortlessly integrate into your company.
Refuse to Settle
Another key preparation you need to make to set up the perfect interview is to fortify your resolve to find the perfect candidate. Note that the choice of words—the “perfect” candidate— is not “the best candidate so far.” You need the candidate who meets all your expectations satisfactorily; to settle for less is to increase the risk that the candidate won’t fit into your company and you’ll end up interviewing for the position all over again.
Filling in the position as quickly as possible is important, but finding the right person the first time is equally important.
Be Clear to Candidates on What You Expect
An important insight to remember about the interviewing process is that it is a two-way street. As much as the candidate is trying to impress you, you need to be working equally as hard to impress them. If you make an offer, you don’t want your candidate to have second thoughts or to consider other offers.
In that regard, you need to present yourself as likable and professional. Make your expectations clear through every step of the interviewing process. If you expect candidates to bring their resumes to the in-person interview, make sure they understand that. You don’t want to surprise your candidates or appear inconsistent, and you don’t want to dismiss perfectly qualified candidates who failed to meet your unclear instructions.
At the same time, by being clear in your instructions, you can weed out candidates who can’t follow directions, saving you time.
Research Each Candidate Before You Meet Them
Some HR managers speed through each candidate’s resume right before their interviews. This is a mistake. Take the time to carefully review the resumes, examine their cover letters, and look for inconsistencies or any strange omissions. You should do a quick Google search to examine a candidate’s digital footprint to make sure their claims match reality.
Examining their material ahead of the interview also gives you an opportunity to prepare the right kind of behavioral interview questions to really help you understand their work ethic and communication skills. You can ask specific questions about their successes and struggles.
Try to Keep It Natural
An interview is not an interrogation. It should be a conversation: friendly, calm, and organic. Creating a hostile environment for the candidate will drive potential perfect employees away. Instead, listen more than you talk and let the conversation feel natural and smooth.
It can help to start with small talk and then to branch out to open ended-questions, since yes/no questions tend to be less informative. When using behavioral interviewing questions, keep those questions loose and unconnected to the position or to any specific values you’re looking for.
Have a list of questions prepared ahead of time in case the conversation feels like it’s veering off course. But keep questions minimal if possible—allow your candidate to do most of the talking.
Even if a candidate you’ve interviewed doesn’t make the cut, you should make the effort to reach out to them and tell them directly. Thanking them personally will build goodwill with them, preventing them from complaining about the company to future potential candidates and maintaining a connection with them if a position they are better suited for opens up.
It’s also a good idea to ask anyone who wasn’t directly involved in the interview process how the candidate behaved outside your office.
And finally, even if you are positive you have the right person for the job, always conduct a final interview to clear up any last minute questions, so you can be absolutely sure you have the right person.
Insight Performance can help you to streamline your interview process so you can find the perfect person for any position within your organization. We provide the resources to make your HR functions smooth and beneficial to all. Contact us today to learn more.