It is important all hiring managers/interviewers put time and effort into preparing to meet candidates. Although the nature of the role maybe well known to you; after all you probably wrote the job description, it is helpful to run through the basics. For the duration of the interview, you are representing your organisation and your interactions will form the basis for the candidate’s first impressions.
The same basic advice we give all candidates also applies to interviewers – dress smartly, be courteous and be punctual. This may sound obvious, but remember you are representing your organisation as well as yourself as a potential manager/colleague. Making a candidate comfortable, showing respect for the time they have taken to attend the interview, and putting him/her at ease, will yield a more positive environment for the rest of the meeting.
Give a thorough yet concise presentation of the company and the job requirements.
Some interviewers go to great lengths to explain the corporate or team structure, even giving presentations for illustration. This could be helpful but it isn’t usually necessary. Giving a brief overview on the company’s expertise, locations, number of people and team structure are more than enough.
Have the job description printed so you can elaborate on the details and describe how this role fits in the current team and why is there a need for it. While making a strategic hire or interviewing a senior candidate, the interviewer may want to begin with a company presentation that will layout the organisation goal, mission and vision statements. A detailed job description can help the interviewer highlight the unique selling propositions of the job and can assist the candidate in gauging their interest against those USPs. A well-structured introduction and presentation of the organisation not only represents the company accurately, but also highlights the efficiency and professionalism of the firm.
Introduce the candidate to the firm’s culture.
Every organisation has their own set of values which they expect all employees to embrace. These values can be play a crucial role in the success of a new employee. Talking about these values and the overall culture of the firm during interviews can help candidates align his/her preferences which will in turn reduce attrition.
Read the CV.
Have the copy on hand as well. Highlight the details you would like to ask the interviewee to elaborate or explain. Assess the candidate’s CV to ensure no detail relevant to the job profile goes unnoticed. There might be points that need further clarification, and having a copy in front of you enables you pick up on any discrepancies.
Prepare a list of questions relating to the role and take notes.
Prepare a variety of questions so that you remember to cover all bases should time be short or conversations digress. You may even want to structure the interview in sections – behaviour questions, questions pertaining to the skill-set, previous job experience, educational background, salary expectation and overall career goals. This can help the you avoid skipping crucial information that might play a vital part during further stages of the interview. These notes should be documented in an organised manner so that the following interviewers can refer to them without difficulty. A well rounded initial interview mitigates the chances of surprises in the following rounds of the process.
Maintaining a professional conduct during the interview is very important. However, this should not cause the interview to be a rigid volley of question answers. These finer points of differentiation can turn out to be the decisive factor in choosing between two closely matched candidates interviewing for the same role. However, know where the line needs to be drawn and be fully aware of what is appropriate and what isn’t. If in any doubt, check with your human resources department first.
Observe and understand non-verbal signals.
In addition to the verbal response given by a candidate, there are many non-verbal cues that an interviewer should be looking out for while interviewing. The demeanour of the candidate to begin with can be a good indicator of their state of mind. It may suggest how they would conduct themselves in demanding situations. Gestures and movements while answering may indicate the thought/decision making process of the candidate.
Before you start an interview you should have an idea of the time line of the process. The interview experience is something candidates will associate the firm with and it is not over until you have made a decision about them. A candidate always appreciates being kept informed about the process as some interview processes can be long, especially in case of technical interviews. This may be the overall responsibility of your HR department, but you will need to be able to give some information when you meet a candidate face to face.
Concluding the interview process in the right manner is as important as how you start. Certainly, not everyone interviewing with an organisation get the job. However, following up with the candidate and conveying the outcome and the reason is courteous and helpful. Not only does it help the candidate improve on their shortcomings, but also forms the right image of the interviewing firm. This image of the firm is what the candidate takes away with them and helps create a good brand value in the recruitment market.
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