By Debra Wheatman, CPRW, CPCC
There are many useful tips for hiring managers to help make effective decisions. Just as important as it is for an interviewee to put his or her best foot forward, it is also critical that a hiring manager representing his or her firm makes a positive impression.
The interview process will help the candidate and the company understand if there is a fit from a personality and skill set perspective and could very well contribute to making hiring decisions that promote longevity. How can you, as a hiring manager, tell if the candidates you are seeing represent a potentially smart hiring decision? While nothing in life is guaranteed, you can consider the following to facilitate smart selection decisions.
Conduct a behavioral-based interview session. This type of interview provides a more objective set of facts to make employment decisions. Traditional interview questions ask more general questions or request general information, such as, “Tell me about yourself.” Behavioral-based interview techniques work differently and are much more focused. It requires the candidate to provide details of specific incidents that allow the interviewer to understand a candidate’s true character. Follow-up probing questions about the situation prevent the candidate from being anything but honest, as lies become easily apparent. Follow-up questions include: What led you to that decision? How did your decision impact the rest of the project? What did you do to alleviate conflicts? As more and more questions are asked (and some are repeated in a different way) anything but the truth will quickly come to light.
Plan for the interview. Planning is not only the candidate’s responsibility; it is also the responsibility of the interviewer to be prepared to interview the candidate. Have a copy of the person’s résumé; review the résumé briefly before the candidate arrives; formulate some questions that you would be interested in knowing about the candidate; review the job description to evaluate connections between essential functions of the job and what you see on the résumé. Consider what you want to learn about the candidate during the interview process.
Make the candidate feel comfortable when you greet him or her. Oftentimes, people are nervous during interviews. Make the candidate feel at ease so he or she opens up to you during the interview process. Do not sit behind your desk. Pick a neutral place where the candidate feels there is more of a level playing field. Offer the candidate something to drink. Engage the person so he or she feels comfortable. This will elicit positive and honest responses during the process. Whatever you do, don’t answer the phone during the interview. The candidate deserves the respect (as you would want) during the process. You wouldn’t like it if the candidate answered a cell phone during the interview. The interview process goes both ways!