Interviewing Candidates

Interviewing candidates for a job at your company is a very important task – one that shouldn’t be taken lightly. In order to assess potential employees, hiring managers need to approach the hiring and interviewing process with a reasonable mindset and expectations. Finding the perfect team member is going to take more than one day of searching and potentially more than one round of interviews. At the same time, it’s critical to avoid casting aside perfectly good candidates because they don’t fulfill every single bullet on your wish list. 

If you’re a hiring manager feeling a little overwhelmed about picking the right employee, we’ve got your back. Below, we’ve put together a hiring guide filled with tips to look for when interviewing candidates. 

  1. Prepare for your interviewee

Most job candidates take time to prepare for a job interview – the least you can do is expect the same of yourself as a hiring manager. Before interviewing a candidate, make sure that you’re going beyond just scanning resumes. You should make a list of specific questions you plan on asking a candidate, in addition to narrowing down what you’re screening for. 

Although a free-flowing, informal conversation that’s more unstructured can help reveal the personality of a candidate, it may lead you to make a biased choice. It’s important that you put thought into your screening process. 

2. Figure out what qualifications are a “need” versus a “want” 

Do you have a set list of qualifications necessary for a job you’re hiring for? If not, make sure that you figure out what qualifications are needed. And, it’s important to distinguish between preferences and “must-haves”. If you’re hiring a communications manger for your company, for example, do they need a degree? Or, does he or she simply need writing and social media experience? If you want to find the best person for the role, it’s essential to consider candidates with alternative or non-traditional types of experiences. This will allow you to expand your candidate search and make it more likely that you’ll find the right fit. 

3. Give the candidate an assessment

After you figure out what experience and qualifications are important for your candidate to have in order to succeed in the position, you’ll need to figure out how to test for those skills. If you’re hiring a writer, for example, you should give them a sample writing test. Or, if you’re hiring someone for your PR firm, allow them to write a sample press release. Give a software engineer an easy coding test. It’s important to give candidates a test that assesses their skills – but make sure you either offer to pay or ensure that the test doesn’t take up hours of their time.

4. Ask situation-based questions instead of yes or no questions

Although asking some yes/no questions is inevitable, they’re not good at revealing how a candidate thinks or responds to different scenarios. There’s two ways you can approach situation-based questions. First, you can ask them to provide an example that illuminates how they’ve handled an issue in the past. Here’s an example you can use: “Tell me about a time that you had an issue with a coworker or client. What did you do to resolve the problem and what did you learn from this experience?”

Another way to approach situation-based scenarios is giving them a fake situation to respond to that’s similar to something they’d deal with on the job. Here’s an example: “If a client doesn’t like the blog post you wrote, how would you respond to the criticism and what would you do differently in the future?”

Need some other good questions to ask a potential employee? Check out the examples below.

  • What are you most proud of in your career so far?
  • Why do you want to work here?
  • Why do you want to leave your current position? 
  • Tell me something about yourself that isn’t on your resume

5. Do a background check

A background check is important to conduct when you feel like you’ve chosen the right candidate. If you’re worried about the background check cost, don’t worry, many screening companies allow you to buy as many or as few screenings as you need. 

Takeaways: Finding the perfect employee

Interviewing can be hard for everyone. But with these tips, you can find a candidate that helps company morale and improves your bottom line.

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