Job interviews are almost always awkward. One third of all managers claim to have made their decision on hiring within the first 90 seconds of the interview. Still, the power dynamics, the formality and the candidate’s anxiety levels all make for some stilted conversation.
It’s an interviewer’s job to make the conversation flow and glean as much as they can about a candidate’s skills and values in a matter of minutes. As with most things, preparation is half the battle – on the part of the interviewer, not the prospective employee. That’s why several of these are things that you can do before and after the interview to make the actual discussion more fruitful.
- Outline your process: It’s tempting to post your ad and jump into interviewing mania. Resist this urge with all of your might. First invest in the process you will follow, from application submission and evaluation strategy and to what the offer and job description look like. This will not only serve as a helpful internal roadmap to guide each candidate, but will also improve the experience for candidates, which can be easily overlooked during your quest to scout the next company prodigy.
- Educate your candidates: Providing context to your business is key. Build a strong careers page that includes your company values, a vision of the opportunity, and real stories from employees. This move effectively covers two steps. It
- gives candidates a clear understanding on what to expect and
- elevates the conversation you can have. They will (hopefully) ask better questions and you can focus on higher level character traits/skills rather than job description or how the company works.
- Set a single contact point: Designate a member of your team to coordinate the recruiting process. This keeps things simple (for both the candidate and recruiting team) and flows all communication through a single channel. This is especially important in remote interviews and hiring because time differences, email communications and making decision by committee can easily confuse and garble the message to the candidate.
- Video trumps voice: While you could have a great set of questions to ask during your interview, it is can still be difficult to evaluate candidates via a phone conversation. If your candidate is remote or can’t make it into the office for an interview, set up a video chat to simulate the closest thing to being in the same room.
- Report results: What traits and values make your ideal candidate? Answer this question and evaluate your candidates on these. Then, set up a form for all your interviewers to submit post-interview. The best feedback will come directly after the interview, when the critique is still fresh. In most cases, the decision on whether to hire or not will surface on its own from this range of feedback.
- Follow-up: Whether they make the next step or were not the right fit, following up quickly with the candidate on the status of their application is good practice. That’s true even if all you’re telling them is a timeline for the final decision.