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Tips for Hiring Managers to Conduct Exceptional Interviews

04.20.2017

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Most of us begin our careers having to make a great first impression on a hiring manager to get our foot in the door into the company of our choice. If we're lucky, put in a lot of hard work, and strive for greater things, eventually most of us get to experience the nerve-wracking process known as the job interview from the other side of the desk. In other words, we go from the interviewee to the interviewer.

The problem with such a transition is that a lot of us don't know how to conduct that first job interview. We want to make sure we hire the best candidate possible for the role because we fully understand that competence in our subordinates reflects best on us as managers. However, such an arduous task is easier said than done. There are a lot of complex issues associated with conducting a successful job interview. The following are some excellent tips to help:

  • Do Your Research: We are living in the midst of a still surging information age. Information is readily available on just about everyone and everything from pickle chips to Vatican City. Take the time to do more than just skim your candidate's resume and cover letter. Read through the resume with a focus on their accomplishments, and ask them to provide details on how they achieved them. Asking for detail is always a good tactic to also weed out the unscrupulous individuals, who may be either outright lying about their accomplishments or severely embellishing them. The next part of your research should include a simple Google search and a social media profile query. Many times, undesirable candidates can expose themselves via poor online reputations and questionable Facebook posts. There is really no excuse for not performing due diligence in researching your candidates' background today because of how easy it is to use pretty much any web browser within arm's reach.
  • Enlighten Them: Remove the guesswork from your candidate's worries by emailing them a list of how to prepare for your meeting. Include things like what is appropriate attire, sample questions, and basic interviewing tips. At least this way if the candidate still shows up unprepared, you will be 100% certain that they are not right for the job. Even when you do hire people, you can't expect them to guess what you want, so you might as well tell them in the interview process and see how well they follow instruction from the very beginning. 
  • Let Them Speak: Your impressive background and diverse list of achievements is not in question here. Don't wax poetically about your own career. Let the candidate do that instead. Let them speak so you can here the confidence in their approach and the certainty in their work ethic. Surely, if a candidate appears too nervous to speak for more than just a few sentences at the time, then you may need to carry the conversation until they can get more comfortable and collect themselves. But don't do this for too long because eventually they're going to need to be able to speak articulately enough to be an impressive representative of your organization.
  • Break the Ice: Even the smoothest talking of candidates is most likely going to be a little nervous at the onset of your interview. After all, a lot is at stake for them depending on what point in their career they're at. Every interview should begin with a non-threatening smile and a firm handshake. After that, if the candidate still appears on edge a little too much, then try to break the ice by going off topic for a bit. Steer the conversation away from the job for three to five minutes and onto something like pop culture, current news, or sports related events. This will usually warm them up and give them a chance to relax a little.

Conducting your first interview is a lot like being interviewed for the first time. They both get a little easier after each one is over.