Over the years I’ve conducted my fair share of interviews. I’ve also discussed interviewing with managers, hiring authorities, recruiters and other decision makers and one thing is clear – everyone has their own approach to interviewing. Some are based on compliance and traditional structures while others are more “free-spirited.” It does all depend on the hiring manager, the candidate and the organization but here’s a great place to start – with my 7 smart interview tips!
Job Interview Tips
1. Preparation. As an candidate, one of my biggest pet peeves is when someone calls for an interview then shows up unprepared. It’s embarrassing – the interviewer has not read the resume. They are not sure what questions to ask. They don’t know what position they are interviewing you for. They fumble through the process. It’s uncomfortable, frustrating, demoralizing and just disrespectful so my #1 rule to interviewing – be prepared for the interview. Read the resume, select your questions, and be professional.
2. I’m not a big fan of 4, 5 or 6 rounds of interviews. I think there needs to be 2 rounds of face to face interviews. If you want to count the phone interview then that’s 3 but really no more than that. It just gets time consuming and kind of ridiculous. Maybe I’m out of touch so if you can tell me about an instance where you interviewed a candidate and it took you 4 or 5 interactions to make your decision – please share your thoughts in the comment section.
3. Choose your style of questions. I coach job seekers to prepare 3 or 4 situational or behavioral based answers in anticipation of the interviewers questions. I will flip that logic in this scenario, you should have either situational or behavioral based questions ready for the interviewee. The questions should pertain to the essential job duties of the position, character and personality indicators and totally nondiscriminatory.
4. SmartRecruiters CEO Jerome Ternynck recently shared his thoughts on interviewing in which he suggested that 4 different interviewers should be in on the process. This allows for a more complete view of the candidate because you are able to collect a variety of perspectives from your hiring team. It also engages your team, making them part of the process which gives them more buy-in for your next hire I agree with this approach.
5. Interactive. Make your interview process interactive by taking the candidate on a tour of the office and introducing them their potential teammates. This allows them to meet the team and see the work environment – sometimes it’s those little things like, workplace culture and settings that can help you select the best fit.
6. Add some fun. Don’t be too serious during the interview. True story, I knew a miserable HR lady when I lived in Ohio who had control and power issues. During the interview she would try to put candidates on the defensive by challenging them in an aggressive manner. She said she didn’t want them to know if they had a good or bad interview and she wanted to see how they would react under pressure. I never understood that thinking – unless you work in a hospital or for NASA, I don’t get that at all. I believe you can ask questions to get the answers you need to make a decision without upsetting the interviewee. In fact, I know it – don’t use the interview to power trip. Have fun and smile!
7. Finally, Give clear time frames. I would make sure the candidate understands the time frames, even if they don’t ask for them. One of the questions I get all the time from my resume and career coaching clients is, “When should I follow-up?” And when I ask them what time frame was giving during the initial interview, they usually say “I wasn’t given one.” Let them know what to expect and try to stick to those time frames.
If you’ve noticed my suggestions focus on the candidate experience. Today, brand messaging, social media word of mouth, mobile technology and organizational culture are just as important as the interview questions. You have to pay attention to the process – it must be pleasant. If you get 100 resumes per open position, 50% of those are often not a fit right off the bat. After screening the remaining 50 resumes, you will end up with about 25. Of that 25, only half will get a phone screening which leaves you with about 12. Roughly half of the remaining 12 will move to the face to face round, so that’s 5 or 6 people and that’s your cream of crop – treat them right!
Chris Fields is an HR professional and leadership guy who also helps job seekers write great resumes and blogs. His work can be found at ResumeCrusade.com, & CostofWork.com. Photo Credit NotionsCapital.