request info email to friend
Conducting an Effective Job Interview
Hiring new employees is both a great opportunity to find new talent, and a great challenge. You need to find people who not only can do the job well, but who will work hard, fit into your corporate culture and not jump ship to a competitor. The job interview is critical to this process.
Before you get to individual interviews, you should have a good idea of the qualities you are looking for in an applicant. Do you want someone who follows directions or someone who is a self-starter? Is attention to detail or creativity more important? Will this person be managing people? Working with clients or customers? What specific education and skill set are best for this position?
Then read the applicant’s cover letter and resume carefully. First, identify things that suggest that the applicant meets your criteria, such as previous experience in the appropriate area or the educational or other credentials necessary for the job. Note any questions about what is in the resume or cover letter so that you can ask the applicant during the interview.
Prepare a list of questions based on your criteria and on the individual applicant’s information. For example, if you want to find out how an applicant might work in a group, ask about his or her experience on a committee or task force at a former employer.
Be specific, and require the applicant to be specific. Don’t let the applicant get away with saying, “I am good at solving problems.” Ask for examples of problems that the applicant faced and solved. Ask the applicant to explain how he or she arrived at that particular solution. And keep asking follow-up questions until you are satisfied with the answer.
Ask questions that are designed to give you insight into how an applicant might fit into your corporate culture. For example, if your culture is very collaborative, ask about the candidate’s experience and comfort level in that kind of environment.
Ask about the applicant’s current and previous positions. You want the applicant to be able to explain how his or her current and previous jobs were preparation for the job with your company. Also, note how the applicant refers to current and former employers. The applicant should be respectful and certainly should not say unflattering things about them.
And ask how the applicant thinks he or she can benefit your company. This will let you know whether the applicant has researched your company, which is one of the minimum requirements for preparing for a job interview. It also will give you insight into how the applicant sees your company and the position. Finally, give the applicant an opportunity to ask questions of you.
Once you have concluded the interview, thank the applicant. Especially if you are seriously considering the applicant, be sure to check references. And as a matter of common courtesy, get back to everyone you interview but do not hire, letting them know that you have filled the position.