Hiring new employees is a formidable task for employers – and yet many are lacking a plan of attack. Inconsistency in interviews can spawn serious liability, not to mention bad hiring decisions. In one study, 20 percent of hiring managers said they had unknowingly asked an illegal question in a job interview. It’s time to align your interview strategy with common best practices and get your hiring team on the same page.
Job seekers will decide if they want to work for you based on their interview experience. According to one study, 83 percent of candidates reported that a negative interview experience could change their minds about a role or company they were pursuing.
A good interview sets the stage for a successful hire. Building an interview checklist, from the location and tone to the staff involved, creates a path of consistency for each interview, and ensures that candidates feel positive about the experience and the possibility of working for your organization. Use this opportunity to showcase everything your company does to invest in employees, and you’re more likely to get an enthusiastic ‘yes’ when you make the final offer. Conduct an effective job interview with the following key recommendations.
Set interview format and questions.
- Create a predetermined set of interview questions ahead of time. Putting a clear plan in place ensures that your hiring managers will avoid superfluous questions, stick to relevant questions that are pertinent to the role, and stay away from any questions that get you in legal trouble.
- Think about the types of questions you want to ask – behavioral, situational, skill-based – focusing on the details you want to learn about potential candidates.
- Avoid “gotcha” questions in order to keep the stress level at a minimum.
- Adhere to the laws and regulations of what you can and can’t ask during a job interview. Laws vary from state to state.
- Sticking to a consistent interview format ensures that each candidate interviews in a similar manner, without bias.
Make it a conversational two-way street, hiring experts suggest. Remember that the screening process is happening on both sides. Allow the conversation to develop organically.
Give candidates the information they need to succeed in an interview.
No one likes an ambush! If there are skills tests involved in the process, let your candidates know ahead of time. Is there a portfolio review required? Should applicants bring their letters of recommendation? Discuss your interview guidelines and expectations with new hires so they can prepare accordingly before their arrival.
At Mac’s List, we prefer to share a few select questions with applicants in advance, in order to give them the time and space to develop thoughtful answers. Even the most experienced candidates can struggle during interviews, and additional information may help to ease jitters.
Set your interview team.
Different positions may interact with a variety of employees and departments, and it can be beneficial to include these departments in the interview process. If you plan to include team members, prioritize, and stick to a set schedule so the experience runs smoothly. Inviting peers to participate brings added insight. These additional voices offer the opportunity for new hires to ask questions regarding the day-to-day tasks and express any concerns they have with role responsibilities and expectations.
Emphasize your employer brand.
Prepared candidates will arrive with a handful of interview questions of their own, regarding everything from the job role itself to the company’s culture and goals. Employers should be at the ready with complete details of the job itself as well as the company’s story. Engage new hires by sharing the company’s mission and goals, highlighting community partnerships and activities. Incorporate information on how a candidate’s skill set fits into the aims of the company.
Create an environment for a welcoming conversation.
Developing the right setting for interviews is an essential factor for hiring success. Distractions and last-minute schedule conflicts can tank an interview quickly.
During one particular job interview, I sat at the head of a long meeting table with managers from each department peering back at me. The hiring manager explained that once the owner was available, she would “float on through” to complete her part of the interview. The unknown of her arrival made for an air of uneasiness in the room, with each of us waiting for the door to fly open at any moment.
When it comes to the interview environment itself, it’s critical to create a space that invites the candidate to relax and converse. Bustling coffee shops or busy meeting rooms can be unsettling for one-on-one discussions.
- Plan your interviews accordingly by scheduling a quiet space where the Q&A can be conducted without distraction, and coordinating participants efficiently.
- Be clear and open about the hiring process and the requirements of the open role. Share the essential technicalities of the position as well as the expectations of the company. If you have a timeline for the interview process, let candidates know what they can expect when moving forward.
- Discuss the salary for the role so that both parties are clear on the bottom line. Highlight any additional benefits and perks that come along with the position. It’s an investment from both sides, and transparency is the responsibility of both parties.
Overall, proper interview preparation shows your company in the best light and guarantees that your interview process will be a success.