What do you look for in an employee? Is it someone good with numbers? A problem solver? A team player? It might be relatively easy to decide what you’re looking for in an employee, but when the time comes, and you need to actively search for that great employee you have in your head, it can be quite the challenge.
What about what employees are looking for in you? After conducting countless employment interviews, you may believe you’ve finally found the ideal candidates. But will said candidates feel like they’ve found their ideal employer? You can be the world’s most incredible boss, but if you did not conduct the interview properly, you might be the one that gets rejected.
Conducting employment interviews can be time-consuming and difficult, but unfortunately, you have no choice but to do so. In this article, we’ll help you understand how to conduct an interview so that both parties walk away feeling satisfied with the outcome of the meeting.
For any process to be successful, preparation is always essential. You can start preparing to conduct an employment interview by reviewing candidates’ resumes and familiarizing yourself with their skill level and experience. Besides having a list of questions you will be asking all candidates, for each candidate, note specific questions you want to ask about their resumes or background. In addition, make sure you have plenty of open-ended questions. Not only do these make an employment interview flow like a normal conversation, but they also provide you with more insight into how candidates think.
If you plan to conduct the employment interview in your office, candidates will be looking around the room for signs of who they would work with every day. Keep your interview area clean and professional as well. Ensure there is nothing out of place, such as empty coffee cups, messy drawers, or a pile of papers on the desk. If you prefer a more relaxed setting and prefer not to conduct interviews in your office, be sure to pick a location that is both inviting and professional. Make sure there are no distractions like children crying or phones ringing.
Now that we’ve gone over interview prep, let’s dive into the interview itself.
Set The Stage
Always keep in mind that as an employer, you need to make a good first impression. You’re being observed as well. All candidates should have a positive view of you and your business from the moment they walk in the door.
And speaking of when candidates walk in the door, be sure to make eye contact, greet them by name immediately with a smile and a firm handshake. Introduce yourself next, and tell them to have a seat. If, at this point, you can at least offer a light refreshment, that would be great! All this happens in just a few minutes, but it does wonders to help your candidates relax.
Your choice of clothing is also very important. Although what you wear largely depends on the field you work in and your personality, as a general rule of thumb, be sure your clothes look neat and clean with at least a hint of professionalism.
Always be on time. Some candidates will have a string of interviews lined up for the day, so not wasting their time is as important as not wasting yours. But if you have no choice but to have candidates wait, it’s best to have them stay in a well-lit area with comfortable seating. Try your best to not make them wait for more than 15 minutes, and apologize for the delay. This will show that you understand common human decency and may even prevent a great candidate from rejecting you or leaving before the employment interview starts.
Once candidates are settled in, it’s time to start the interview.
Perhaps your candidates will have already done their homework on your company. But just to clear up any misconceptions, at the start of the employment interview, tell your candidates a little bit more about what your company does and why it’s meaningful.
Spell out precisely what will be expected of them if they are hired. Emphasize what all your employees’ work ethic should be like, and mention any zero-tolerance policies. And again, in the spirit of clearing up misconceptions, talk about the job they are being interviewed for. Be more descriptive than you were in your job posting and ask candidates if they have any questions.
This shouldn’t take too much of your time, so avoid including details that will only be necessary for the candidate to know after they have been hired. And of course, you don’t want to bore them to death either so whatever you say, speak in a light and friendly manner that’s easy to listen to.
Ask Appropriate Questions
This may be the most challenging part of the entire employment interview. However, if you prepared well to conduct the interview, you will already have a list of appropriate questions at hand.
Starting with general questions is a great way to break the ice in an employment interview. But these questions can also help you learn more about candidates’ personalities and behavior as well. This will make it easier for you to decide whether they are a good fit for your business brand. Perhaps you can ask them about their background, interests, likes and dislikes, and why they applied for the job. Behavioral questions like, “what would you do if… ?” are great for employment interviews too!
Moving on, you want interviewees to talk about their skillset. This is the time for them to show off what they can bring to your team and demonstrate how enthusiastic they are about the position they have applied for. They can only do this if you ask the right questions, though.
At this point in your employment interview, your questions should be about candidates’ skills and experience that directly relate to the job. For example, you might ask: “What makes you a good fit for this position?” or “Tell me about a time when you demonstrated expertise.”
Don’t be afraid to ask candidates about their weaknesses and how they handle difficult situations. They need to know that in this employment interview, they’re not just being judged solely on their skills, but how well they deal with challenges, too.
You might ask:
“What do you think you need to work on to be more qualified for this position?”
“What were some challenges you faced in your previous position?”
“If you don’t know how to complete a task, what will you do?
“We had this issue last month. How would you have handled it?
Toward the end of your employment interview, ask your candidates if they have any questions or concerns. This shows candidates that you care about their thoughts and can even help you learn more about them. You’ll also be able to tell if they are satisfied with the employment interview or not.
The way you answer questions is as important as the way you ask them. Be respectful no matter how weird a question seems. Candidates also need to see that you know what you’re doing, so answer quickly and confidently.
After candidates ask their questions, thank them for their time. Then, let them know how quickly they’ll be hearing from you, and see them out.
After conducting employment interviews, there’s still lots more for you to do! You’ll then need to decide which candidates are the right fit. Even after you’ve hired suitable candidates, there’s still onboarding and many other things to consider!
In fact, as a business owner, you’ve always got lots to do and lots to think about. Does it ever end? Not really, but you can sure do your best to make running your business more rewarding than challenging! A great way to do so is by having a solid support system.
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