Interviewing Tips For Hiring Managers

Hire the Right Candidate

Hiring the wrong person can cost companies dearly. It costs companies major dollars. It can affect your career advancement. Depending on the source, mis-hires can cost a company up to ten times their salary. Governmental studies show the costs of mis-hire professionals to be two to three times their annual salaries. Hiring the right person starts with the interviewing process.

It has never been more important than the present to hire the right person.

Researchers have studied the relationship between interview-based evaluations and job performance. Most hiring mistakes can be traced to a process that relies too much on the gut judgments of managers who base their decisions almost entirely on inaccurate interview assessments. The skill and experience of the interviewer directly affects the general reliability of interview assessments.

Interview Techniques

Conducting a successful interview requires a skilled interviewer to adequately prepare for the meeting and to recognize and respond to the specific situation. Although being a skilled interviewer is part of the equation, applying the correct interview technique can be just as important. There are several types of interview techniques used by managers: traditional interview, behavior interview and situational interview techniques.

Traditional interview techniques have been utilized for many decades. Traditional interview techniques involve evaluating a candidate’s education, grade point average, job experience, professional achievements, technical experience and personal interaction with the interviewer. Examples of questions may include: 'Where do you see yourself in five years? What are your strengths and weaknesses?' Although performing an evaluation of the candidate’s credentials, education and experience is still necessary, the candidate’s job skills can’t be evaluated using this technique.

Behavior and situational interviewing techniques are similar to the above mentioned method but differ slightly. Behavior interviewing techniques are designed to ask candidates to relate what they did in the past while confronting this situation - a historical recollection of a past problem resolution. Questions, such as, 'What did you do in this situation?', would be asked by the interviewer.

Situational interviewing techniques focus on what candidates would do in a specific situation. This technique involves questions that describe a hypothetical situation based on challenging, real life, job-related occurrences and ask the candidates how they would handle the problem. Questions may include: 'How would you handle an auditee who refuses to provide you with requested documents? Describe how you would demonstrate leadership qualities and the ability to lead other staff internal auditors toward completing an audit project.' The interviewer plays a role such as that of an irate client or customer.

Conducting The Interview

Situational interviewing is not a replacement for the traditional or behavior interview methods, but should be an addition which enhances the interview and makes it more effective. Situational questioning will probe for job-related skills that you may not find under the more traditional interview methods. Candidates who have been trained to handle the traditional interview questions will find it more difficult to respond to situational and behavior questions. Interviewers must be patient with the applicants because the use of situational and behavior questioning requires some thought and applicants may not have been exposed to these types of questions. The interviewer should expect periods of silence while the applicant formulates answers, but, at the same time, they should be persistent in requesting specific information using what they have learned from the past.

While it is important to ask the right questions, it is equally important to listen for the answers. Interviewers must train themselves to be good listeners. The keys are: concentrate, don't interrupt, fight distractions, keep note-taking to a minimum and practice, practice, practice.

Listening skills come with experience and practice. The interviewer must understand what the candidate is describing and should ask the candidate to provide more information, when it warrants.

Job Skills and Interview Questions

The interviewer must be well prepared and organized in order to properly conduct an interview.Preparing an interview checklist can help the interviewer to cover all the questions, complete the interview in time and assist in the evaluation of the candidate once the interview is completed.

The checklist should contain items such as review of the applicant s resume, skills and characteristics, previous experience, job accomplishments, job skills, etc. To assist in the evaluation, incorporate a priority ranking and a weight factor system into the checklist. These also assist in keeping note taking to a minimum. A checklist of tasks will help organize the interviewer since some of the tasks, such as reviewing the resume, comparing qualifications with job description, etc., have to be completed prior to the interview.

As mentioned earlier, the interviewer must be prepared for the interview by developing the necessary job skills and corresponding situational questions before the interview, keeping in mind the level of the candidate(s) being interviewed. You wouldn’t ask the same situational questions to an applicant interviewing for an associate/entry level auditor position that you would ask an applicant interviewing for a senior or consulting level auditor position.

Afterwards

Check your notes at the end of each session for clarity. Resist making a job offer on the spot as this is legally binding.

Make sure that every candidate leaves with a good impression of your business. They may be the perfect candidate next time round and even if you never see them again they or their family could still be your customers.

Good luck!

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