We discuss a lot about how candidates can prepare for an interview and since it is a candidate market we thought the interviewer could use some tips as well. An interview in itself should not be a test for a candidate, we suggest making every effort to make it a seamless process for both your team and the candidate. Allowing a candidate to be comfortable and asking relevant questions is key to really understanding the content of a candidate’s background and how they will fit with your team. All of this is worth the preparation since it’s estimated the cost of a bad hire can be five times the person’s annual salary. Below are a few tips to prepare you and your team for an interview and a few behavioral questions to tailor and ask a potential candidate.
- Know why you are interviewing and make sure your team knows. Having a solid job description is a great place to start, how will you be able to access a candidate for a specific role without one? There are some cases where you come across great talent and you don’t want to pass them up but don’t have a specific role open. Having a casual conversation is perfectly okay and often the best way to hire top-talent, but you do still need to have a goal for the meeting and be able to outline for the candidate where they might fit with the company’s vision.
- Schedule the interview at a convenient time for the candidate. Make every effort to schedule the interview at a time that is convenient for the candidate. Allowing a candidate to choose a time means you’ll give them a more relaxed interview experience, versus trying to squeeze in an interview during their lunch hour. Some of our clients have taken candidates to dinner or met over the weekend, this doesn’t necessarily need to be for a first round interview but for next rounds it’s worth considering.
- Review the candidate’s resume and work samples. This seems like a no-brainer but with pressing schedules it’s possible the candidate’s resume may have been passed along to you after the interview was scheduled. Take the time to review the resume and prepare a few RELEVANT questions about their background (see below).
- Start the interview with an overview of your company, its history, and goals. This is the time to show the candidate why this position is open, where you see this person possibly fitting within the organization, and to get the candidate excited about a future with the company.
- Be gracious. This doesn’t mean you need to roll out a red carpet, but the little details will make a difference. What little details? Number one, be nice and polite. Do things that show you are a considerate person and company. A few example are making sure the person’s parking ticket is validated if you are in a large building or if you have the person coming in on their lunch hour you might offer to order lunch in and you can eat and interview.
- Ask relevant questions. Make sure to tailor questions to the position and person’s background. For example, you wouldn’t ask a Junior Designer about a time they had to fire a friend since they probably haven’t experienced this. This is a turn-off to many candidates when they realize you haven’t reviewed their background enough to ask relevant questions. The whole goal is to find out how the candidate will handle situations specific to the role, not to trick or stump them. If you find you are getting answers to questions that aren’t relevant to the role it may be because you are asking the wrong questions.
Here are a few behavioral interview questions to get you started:
- Describe a time when you overlooked an evident solution to a problem.
- Tell me about a time when you exceeded expectations in order to get a job done.
- Give me an instance of when you demonstrated initiative and took the lead.
- Tell me about a time you used your persuasion or presentation skills.
- Tell me about a time you were able to effectively interact with another person even when that person may not have liked you (or vice versa).
- Tell me about a time when you delegated a project well.
- Describe a stressful situation you’ve encountered that demonstrates your coping skills.
- Explain a time you anticipated potential problems and prevented them with a solution.
- Tell me about a time when you were overwhelmed with too many things to do and you prioritized your tasks.
- Give me an example of a time when you motivated another person.