Effective Interviewing Key To Making A Good Hire
The ability to conduct an effective interview is a critical skill for all hiring managers. Knowing how to screen for the right candidate will save you the headache of a bad hire and help you assemble an all-star team, says career coach Cynthia Shapiro, author of the book “Corporate Confidential.”
The goal of every hiring process is to select a candidate who not only has the appropriate skills but also meshes seamlessly with the company culture. But any manager can tell you: that’s not as easy as it sounds.
Job applicants have become increasingly adept at dodging difficult questions and playing to their strengths. Given the fact that most executives aren’t trained to interview, it should come as no surprise that few know how to look beyond the surface and spot red flags, Shapiro says.
Shapiro offers five tips for ferreting out bad apples and finding the right person for the job:
- First, look within. Don’t just settle for a candidate who looks good on paper. Find someone whose attitude and skills complement your own working style. Chances are you work well with people who possess particular talents and characteristics. If you’re unclear on what those are, take some time to pinpoint the people on your team who you work well with. Are they energetic or patient? Independent or collaborative? You also want to look for employees whose strengths compensate for your weaknesses. Are you a big picture person with little interest in details? You’ll want to populate your team with detail-oriented people who can pick up the slack. Once you’ve determined the character traits and skills you’re after, carefully screen for them during the interview process.
- 2Remember: it is not a popularity contest. “A lot of interviewers get just as nervous as the interviewees,” says Shapiro. Why? Human beings are naturally empathetic and it’s difficult to watch a candidate squirm without being affected. But it’s not your job to put the people you’re interviewing at ease. Nor is it your job to win them over. Your job is to uncover as much as you can about strengths and weaknesses and this isn’t always a comfortable process. Heavily screening each applicant is the only way to protect the company from bad apples, so don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions.
- Be on the lookout for behavioral issues. People generally have their game faces on during an interview, which means it can be difficult to get an accurate read on them. To ensure that you don’t get duped into hiring someone with authority issues or other behavioral problems, Shapiro recommends asking questions designed to get people to reveal themselves. Her favorite is: What’s the most difficult situation you’ve ever encountered at work and how did you deal with it? You want an answer that demonstrates the person’s ability to deal with conflict diplomatically. Be especially wary of candidates who appear negative, Shapiro warns. Those who can’t maintain composure in an interview setting are unlikely to be a good addition to your team.
- Do your due diligence. Checking employee references is no one’s idea of a good time, says Shapiro, but it is absolutely essential. Why? Because references can give you real insight into a person’s character if you ask the right questions. Shapiro recommends asking each reference to score the applicant’s attitude, people skills and competence on a scale of 1-10. If the score is lower than a five in any area, this should be a red flag. It’s also important to verify all the facts on resumes to ensure there is no misrepresentation.
- If you feel uneasy for any reason, keep looking. Regardless of how qualified candidates appear do not proceed if you have any misgivings after interviewing and consulting references. In today’s litigious society, it’s become harder than ever to let people go when they turn out to be a bad fit, warns Shapiro.