Interviewing, Roy Barker

Interviewing is both a science and an art form.

Interviewing can be an arduous task for both sides of the desk. The interviewer really needs some top talent that will stay a while and be a contributor. The interviewee really needs a job or wants this position or maybe just wants to get in with the company.

It’s good to remember that you are not only evaluating the candidate but, if you have screened and assessed your candidates correctly, you will be selling the position and the company as well.

As an interviewer, it is important to be prepared and have your day structured productively. Know who you are interviewing and which job they are interviewing for. Do some research on your candidate. It can seem like a waste of an applicant’s time when the interviewer is looking over his/her resume for the first time while the candidate is sitting across from him/her.

Know what you are looking for in a candidate. Ideally, you can have some conversations with the manager for the positions you are hiring for. It may make since to have two to three interviews with good candidates, but don’t overdo it. You can go too far with an excessive number of interviews as well as the length of time spent with them.

Don’t schedule your day too tight. Leave some room to go a little longer with good candidates. If you do find yourself with a little extra time in between candidates, take a short walk to clear your head and get ready for the next one.  

Have written questions prepared for each interviewee based on three topics: the candidate’s resume, the company, and the position applied for. Leave some space to take notes. There may be a good follow-up opportunity. We all think we will remember the important things.

Most of the time, candidates end up running together and we end up forgetting who said what. It is also good to ask for concrete details like number of people managed, sales numbers last year, and other accomplishments they highlight or talk about.

Get your mind right before you even meet the candidate. You will need to be an intent listener for the interview. Don’t take over the conversation. Remember, you are trying to find out as much information from the candidate as possible. Some say this is why God gave us two ears and only one mouth: so we can listen twice as much as we talk.

Move away from your computer where you aren’t tempted to look at an email. Get out from behind your desk. Arrange the chairs where you can sit by each other without a desk or a table between you. Make sure to eliminate all distractions. Put your cell phone in the desk drawer.

When meeting initially, it’s a great idea to put the candidates at ease. Make sure they are comfortable, have a chance to relax and to do their best. Start out with some non-interview talk just to loosen the person up. Give the candidate an opportunity to ask questions. You never know what you will learn by having a casual conversation before you dive right into the interview.

It’s unprofessional to be cruel to prospective employees regardless of how powerful you may feel or how bad of a fit they might be for the position. Everyone started in their professions somewhere. Remember how you felt when you were the interviewee.

See Screening