Hiring managers need to prepare for interviews just as much as a candidate does. Hiring and on boarding new staff is an expensive part of business operations and preparation is key for the best chance of finding the right candidate, the first time.
Here are our top tips for hiring managers in the interview phase:
Know what you want
Don’t waste time interviewing a dozen candidates or anyone who looks like a poor fit for the role. Use the job description and make sure that candidates match your needs.
Clearly define the job title, responsibilities and expectations of the person. List all the skills – both technical and soft that you want this candidate to have.
Get a second opinion
Once you’ve established a solid shortlist of two or at max three candidates, assemble an interview team. Include people who will work closely with that candidate (even ones who are on the same reporting line and are no more senior than the new hire). Seek the opinions of those colleagues you trust who can provide an honest judgement if the candidate will be a good culture fit and can do the job.
Trust your recruiter
You need to let your recruiter help you. Which is why it is important you have a good rapport and trust the consultant you work with. They will have met with a lot of candidates who closely match what you are looking for and only submitted a small shortlist to you. Ask them why they chose them. Ask who they think is the best match and why. Work with your recruiter and let them consult to you. It’s what they know and what they do best.
Don’t rush the interview. Whilst we know you are probably busy and have important tasks to get back to at your desk an interview is your opportunity to truly see if the candidate will be a good match to the role.
Start with a brief chat about the background of the company and role. Then dive deeper about the candidate’s experience and what they can bring to the role. Pay attention to the candidate’s body language, enthusiasm and the questions they ask in reply.
Preparation is key
Have a list of questions to ask ready to go. Ask the same questions to each candidate. You may naturally “go off course” from time to time and delve deeper on some answers. However, it is important to bring yourself back to the questions you prepared earlier and compare the answers across each candidate you meet with. Having prepared questions also keep the flow of the interview and helps to keep you on track.
Not excessively, but you will need some prompts to remind you later. Trust us. The important answers will stay imprinted in your mind, but when you are comparing more than one candidate, it is best to scribble the important points down and then add more substantial thoughts after the interview.
Be ready to move
Remember that you are most likely not the only hiring manager that candidate is meeting with. When you decide on the candidate you want to offer, keep the ball moving and the pace going. You don’t want to get to offer stage and find they have already accepted another job with your competitor. There is also nothing more disheartening and no bigger turn off for a candidate looking at a potential new job, than the company having massive lags between each stage. Keep them warm throughout the process, start the reference stage, bring them back in to meet the team (at the very least keep the recruiter in the loop so they keep them warm for you).
Hiring doesn’t have to be overwhelming and it doesn’t have to be hugely time consuming. Let your recruiter do the hard yards so that you only have to meet one or two standouts who are the perfect fit for your role. Then, be prepared and ready to hire when you meet The One.