Now that you’ve interviewed a few candidates over the phone , it’s time to bring your best candidates into the office for a face-to-face interview. Sorting through hundreds of resumes and choosing potential candidates is only a small part of the hiring process. In most situations, the face to face interview is the most difficult part. Here are 5 tips to getting the most out of a face-to-face interview.
- Do Your Homework – I’m not talking about going back to school. It’s important for the interviewer to prepare for the interview. The interviewer should become familiar with the candidate’s cover letter and resume. Doing so will help the interviewer generate questions about the candidate’s background, work experience and qualifications. A simple Google search can provide some interesting information. Review Facebook and LinkedIn to see if something stands out.
- Prepare a List of Questions – Now that you’ve reviewed the candidate’s background, experience and qualifications, you should prepare a list of questions that will act as a template for the interview. Be flexible with these questions and don’t stick to it 100%. For each question you come up with, you should come up with 2 potential follow-up questions that may be suitable to ask, depending on the response. As for the questions:
- Never ask Yes or No questions – all questions should be open ended in order to get the candidate to expand
- Don’t ask more than one questions at a time – Doing so can be confusing. If you ask more than one at a time, the candidate may not answer all of your questions
- Keep Judgments in Check – Many interviewers make judgments too quickly based on their initial impressions. This can cloud perception. It’s important to give the candidate a clean slate and allow their qualifications and responses to create an opinion
- Behavioral Questions – I like using behavioral questions to evaluate a candidate’s experience. Every candidate will tell you they are organized quick thinkers that can multi-task. By asking behavioral questions, the interviewer can make the candidate discuss those traits in detail. The interviewer should look for relevancy and how quickly the candidate answers the questions. For example, a good behavioral question can be “Tell me about a time when you had to deal with a difficult co-worker. How did you get along with them?”
- Listen! – This may seem obvious, but it’s not. If you don’t prepare questions for the interview beforehand, you’ll be thinking of them on the spot while the candidate is responding and telling you about their experience. When this happens, it’s easy to miss information. Be engaged and listen to the candidate’s responses. Most of the time, the candidate’s responses should generate at least one follow-up question.
Most importantly, remember to have fun! This is an exciting process. You’re adding to your staff and setting yourself (and your company) up for success. A candidate will want to work for someone that is fun and personable. If you come across as someone with a bad attitude, you may push a great candidate away. Have a pleasant attitude and smile to make the candidate more relaxed, which will lead to better content and interaction. Have fun, enjoy the experience and develop a new relationship! My next blog will discuss 5 tips for the second interview.