What are the different job interview strategies?
Your company can increase hiring success by applying the right tools to the job, including effective interviewing techniques, thoughtful questions and well-orchestrated candidate meetings. Here are some basics to get you started.
- Prepare questions in advance – Create a list of questions before the candidate arrives. This up front planning will keep the interview moving quickly and ensure you get the information you need. It will also help you avoid vaguely worded questions that may be difficult for applicants to answer.
- Choose the right interviewers – The supervisor who will oversee the new hire typically conducts the initial job interview. If you're a small company with one person acting as supervisor, have other team members talk with candidates as well. Discuss in advance which topics each interviewer will explore. This will generate more comprehensive information about applicants' skills and experience.
- Listen more than you talk – When the interview begins, make applicants comfortable by asking a few general questions, then let them do most of the talking. Save your overview of the company and job for the end of the meeting. Otherwise, job seekers might tell you what they think you want to hear rather than speaking honestly.
- Avoid the tried and true – Interview questions such as, "Where do you want to be in five years?" elicit well-rehearsed responses. Instead, ask the unexpected. Watch how applicants think on their feet – it's a good indicator of how they'll deal with day-to-day challenges.
- Elicit practical information – What types of questions get you the information you'll need? Scenario-based questions, where you ask a candidate to react to a typical on-the-job challenge, can give you an idea of how a candidate would react. Questions that focus on measurable outcomes, such as "What challenges did you face on a project and how did you overcome them?" give you insight into pertinent accomplishments. Follow up when necessary to get the specific information you need.
- Talk about your company brand and culture – Your company brand is reflected in the functional benefits that you offer, such as health plans, compensation, flexible work arrangements, wellness and telecommuting programs. Also talk to the candidate about opportunities for growth and career development, what motivates people to work there, employee-generated initiatives, community volunteer programs and other company traditions.
- Watch the clock – Decide how long you'll spend in the meeting and how much of that time will be filled with candidate questions versus your overview of the position. Don't feel obligated to give too much time to poor prospects, but keep in mind that they're likely to talk about their experience to others in the industry.
- Don't forgo the second interview – Invite strong candidates back for another interview with you or a team member. Ask new questions and repeat a few from the first conversation to test consistency. Does the second meeting reinforce your feeling that the prospect is right for the job? If you're not sure, don't hesitate to set up a third meeting.