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How to Conduct an Effective Interview

When making a hiring decision most managers will tell you the deciding factor is based on the results of the candidate’s interview, making the interview the most important piece of the recruitment process. Although the interview is the most popular way to gauge if a candidate is going to be a good fit for a position very few organizations give their managers the proper tools to effectively perform the task. It can be easy to confuse a particular manager’s technical experience for interview experience, but many hiring managers have never received formal training on how to interview candidates.

As a manager you have several demands on your time, but you need to find the time to prepare for interviews. You won’t know if a candidate’s going to be the right fit for your team just by talking to him or her for ten minutes, especially if you are the one doing all the talking, explaining the details of the job, hurrying the interview along, so you can get back to your desk to finish one of the numerous critical projects you are working on.

Interviewing is a skill that takes time to learn and perfect. The following basic steps will immediately help you become a more effective interviewer:

  • Set Goals: It is not enough to go over the details of the job description. Focus on what you expect the person in the position to accomplish in a specific timeframe.
  • Prepare Questions: Ask questions based on the challenges a person is going to face in the role. Write your questions out, and make sure you are asking questions that pertain to what you expect this person to accomplish in this role.
  • Ask for Relevant Stories: When a candidate tells you how they would deal with a situation ask them for a specific example of how they dealt with a similar situation.
  • Don’t Assume: Don’t assume a candidate has experience with everything they wrote on their resume. Don’t assume that because a candidate looks a certain way or comes from a certain school that they are going to be a good fit for your team.

Your interview process should constantly be evolving. The steps above will act as a foundation for you to build upon and help you more accurately identify the best candidates, save you time, money and the wasted energy of unproductive interviews.

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