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Ah, the dreaded interview process. You searched through hundreds of resumes, painstakingly combed through each detail, and analyzed each candidate’s eligibility. You narrowed it down to the select few that possess the qualifications for the job you’ve posted. You even braved the phone screening. Now you’ve extended invitations to in-person interviews.
For business owners bringing on team members for the first time, this part can be pretty intimidating. Don’t be nervous! This is a process like any other and can be broken down into simple steps that will help take the mystery out of the process.
Step 1: Put the candidate at ease
Take time to welcome and greet them. Chat about topics that don’t relate to the job—the weather, their drive in. Compliment them on their attire or comment on an interest you notice they had listed on their LinkedIn profile. Just be sure to keep it topical and steer clear from EEOC prohibited topics. Keep it simple and light.
Step 2: Describe the interview process
Be clear about what you expect to hear regarding their responses. Feel free to let them know you will be taking notes (always take notes!) and how long you expect to take. A simple way to explain the interview format is to ask the candidate to follow the STAR method. When asked a question and they have had the time to ponder their response, format their answer by explaining the Situation, the Task assigned, the specific Actions they took to resolve it, and the measurable Results they produced.
Step 3: Ask your competency skill-based interview questions
There are several schools of thought on interviewing question formats. The key is to avoid “high-stress” formats where the candidate is simply asked to “impress” the interviewer. You don’t want to miss out on a great employee because you made them too nervous to answer coherently–or scared them off altogether. My favorite type of interview question is competency-based. For example, if the position requires proficiency in a specific job or task, ask them about a time they have used that skill. It is very hard for people to come up with fake examples. You will quickly ascertain whether they truly possess the experiences they boast on their resume.
Step 4: Interview Close
Here is where the candidate asks you a few questions about the position. Them asking a few questions is a good sign of the level of engagement they will display on the job. Are they curious about what you do? Have they taken the time to do their research on you and your company’s website? Once the Q & A session is over, let them know that you are early in the interview process, you will review the candidates responses with your team and you will be in touch with them in about a week. Resist the urge to hire them on the spot until you have had the time to get a second set of eyes on the candidate’s interview responses. You will need an accountability partner to make sure you are staying objective throughout the process and not making a decision based on desperation.
Hiring represents a massive investment of time, money, and energy. Follow these steps for the interviewing process and you will be well on your way to finding a great new employee!