How to Interview “Almost” Anyone | Mike Dronkers | TEDxHumboldtBay
How to Interview Someone
Conducting a job interview isn't something you should do on the fly. Hiring the wrong person can be a real headache - an expensive one - so it's important to use your interview to effectively weed out the good from the bad. Doing research on the candidate, asking the right questions and establishing friendly rapport can help you gain a clear picture of whether the person is right for the job. Read on to learn how to successfully interview someone.
Being Prepared to Evaluate the Candidate
Do some background research.You have a resume and cover letter presenting information that is said to be factual. Before the candidate even enters your office, take some time to verify the information he or she has given you. The job market is tough, and it's not unthinkable for candidates to embellish their resumes a bit to get an edge over the dozens of other people who applied for the job. Doing research beforehand is also a good way to prep yourself for the interview so you can ask informed questions instead of just winging it with generic ones.
- Call the candidate's references. Ask questions specifically related to information from the resume and cover letter.
- Do an online search. Google the person and check LinkedIn, if their profile is public.
- If you know people who know the candidate, casually ask a few questions about the person's work history.
- Research the companies the candidate worked for - you can learn a lot about what the candidate might be bringing to the table.
Have a solid understanding of what qualifications you're seeking in a candidate.The purpose of an interview is to learn more about a candidate's personality and determine whether he or she will be a "good fit." This is your chance to learn more than what the candidate presents on paper. You might be interviewing five people with the exact same level of education and experience, so it's time to think more deeply about what you need from your potential hire. What kind of person is going to do the job well? What will make one person stand out from the rest?
- Are you looking for someone with a big personality who's going to push traditional boundaries? Would it be better to have a serious, hardworking type who reliably gets the job done well every time? Figure out what work style you want in a candidate.
- Determine whether you need someone who is detail-oriented or a big picture thinker.
- Think about the people who have previously held the position in question. What worked, and what didn't?
- Remember that getting along with someone else isn't a good enough reason to hire them; you need to be confident the person will do a good job. There are plenty of people who make excellent first impressions, but falter when it's time to get to work.
Method 1 Quiz
Why should you research the candidate before the interview?
Conducting the Interview
Start with a few general questions.After introducing yourself and exchanging a few pleasantries, ask general questions geared toward verifying information on the candidate's resume and cover letter. This helps both you and the candidate ease into the interview before diving into deeper and more complicated questions. Make sure the candidate's answers match what you learned in your research.
- Ask the person how many years he or she worked at the last company, and why he or she is leaving.
- Ask the candidate to describe his or her former position.
- Ask the candidate to talk about how his or her prior experience is relevant to the position in question.
Ask behavioral questions.Learn more about how the candidate handles professional situations by asking him or her to provide you with examples of times they displayed some of the skills and traits you're looking for. The answers to these types of questions will reveal a lot about the employee's work style and abilities. In addition, behavioral questions have been shown to elicit truthful answers from candidates, since the answers are based on concrete past experiences.
- Make your questions skill-specific. For example, say "Tell me about a time when you used creativity to come up with a solution to a puzzling marketing problem." If you just said, "Are you creative?" You might not end up with an answer that reveals the information you need.
- Behavioral questions can also tell you a lot about the candidate's personality. Asking the candidate to tell you about a time when he or she was faced with an ethical dilemma, for example, could lead to some interesting answers.
Put the candidate on the spot.Some interviewers like to ask a few questions that make the candidate uncomfortable, to see how the person handles stress. If this kind of situation is going to be encountered on the job, you might as well know now if the candidate is going to crumble.
- "Why should we hire you?" Is a classic stressful question. Many candidates prepare for this one beforehand, though, so you might want to make it a bit trickier by saying something like, "I see you don't have any experience writing press releases. What makes you think you're the right person for a PR position?"
- Asking the candidate probing questions about why he or she is no longer with the previous company also gives the person the chance to either shine or buckle under a little pressure.
- Uncomfortable hypotheticals such as "What would you do if you witnessed a colleague demonstrating unethical behavior?" can also be useful.
Give the candidate a chance to ask questions.Most people prepare a list of intelligent questions to ask the interviewer, so be prepared to give some answers of your own. If your candidate says "I don't have any questions," that is in itself revealing; you might question how engaged the person is with the prospect of working for your company.
- Have specific details ready to relay to the candidate. Hours, benefits, salary, specific job duties, and other information may come up, so make sure you have answers ready, even if the answer is "we'll discuss that later."
- If the candidate asks something like "what are my chances?" don't give an answer that will lead him or her on unless you're 99% sure you're going to offer the person the job.
Tell the candidate what the next steps will be.Let him or her know that you'll be in touch within the next few days or weeks, whatever the case may be. Thank the candidate for coming in for an interview, stand up, and shake hands. This will be the interviewee's cue to leave.
Method 2 Quiz
Which of the following questions should you ask a candidate to see how they handle stress?
Employing Effective Strategies
Make sure to keep it legal.It is against the law to discriminate against an applicant due to race, sex, religion, age, disability, pregnancy, national origin, and other factors.Do not ask the candidate any questions that are geared toward finding out information in one of these areas. Here are a few common questions interviewers ask, even though they shouldn't:
- You may not ask a woman whether she is pregnant, or expecting to start a family in the next few years.
- Don't ask someone if they go to church, or what religion they were raised practicing.
- Do not ask someone their age.
- Do not ask someone if their health issues will affect their ability to work.
Don't talk too much.If you're going on about yourself or the company the whole time, your candidate won't be able to get a word in edgewise. You might feel like it was a great interview and then realize you didn't really gain new information. Ask leading questions and let the candidate speak for the majority of the interview.
Establish rapport.You'll get more information out of the person if you're friendly, warm and inviting. Taking a hard-nosed approach will cause some people to close up and answer questions guardedly. Encourage openness and honesty through your body language. Smile, nod, and don't flinch if the candidate stumbles or has difficulties answering a question.
Represent your company well.Remember that the candidate has a choice in the matter of whether he or she takes the job if it's offered. You might find people reluctant to take the job if the company doesn't seem like a great place to work, or if you seem like you'd be an unpleasant manager. The cards aren't all in your hands, so don't go on a power trip during the interview.
Take notes and double check answers.Note important information during the interview, so you can double check on it afterward if need be. If the candidate gives you details about a big project he or she completed for a previous company, there's no harm in calling the references again to double check that it really happened.
Method 3 Quiz
What should you never ask a potential employee?
QuestionHow do I interview my girlfriend?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou would interview her with these questions, unless you're looking for a different approach.Thanks!
How do I interview a nurse about her job?
- Some people aren't great at making a positive first impression. Ask questions geared toward drawing quiet people out of their shells - these might be the people who are the most highly skilled and qualified. If you've got a charmer on your hands, make sure you aren't swept away by jokes and anecdotes - get the person to give concrete examples of his or her skills and accomplishments.
Sources and Citations
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