Interviewing well is fundamental to a great business. It doesn’t need to be difficult or too complex, what it should be however is a positive experience for both parties regardless of the outcome. It should be a reflection of you, your Company and more importantly your values and ambitions. One of the easiest things to remember is to just keep it simple, have a few guidelines and remember it is time well spent in the quest for talent. If you get it right now it will save you a lot of time (and pain) in the future:
Time well spent
Having a quick chat over a cup of coffee works if all you want to do is meet someone, ascertain their fit and whether it’s a good use of time to formally interview them. Is there enough interest on both sides to take things further? If the answer is yes then you have a credible candidate. At that point the interviewing process is vital, it will help you understand the candidate’s skills and experience, but also their personality and work habits. By under interviewing you’re more likely to hire people that will be less committed to your business and to helping it succeed. That said if you over-interview the process becomes unnecessarily frustrating and potentially good candidates lose interest. Testing and assessing skills are vital just don’t draw out the process – if it takes more than three interviews you probably don’t have the right person or the right process.
Behaviour based questions
Skills can be easily taught, but behaviour is very difficult to change. The interview gives you an opportunity to ask behaviour based questions that won’t be covered in skills assessments. One of the simplest ways to do this is to ask scenario based questions. For example: “Can you give me a specific example of when you had to convince someone to do something.” Or “Give me a specific example of when you had to use a process to get something done.” How they answer these questions will give you far more insight into their natural behaviours and if they will be a good fit for your business.
Aligning your values
People work best when they are doing something they believe in, so finding out what their core values are will help you understand if they are the right type of people to work in your company. Values really define personality and this is much more important than skills, skills can be taught, core values are intrinsic to a person and not something you can easily change.
Use interview question templates
One of the most useful tools for interviewing is a questionnaire template. If you are interviewing several candidates this is the only way to guarantee that you ask them all the same questions and that the process is fair. It’s easy to get sidetracked when interviewing and when this happens you many find you miss out on asking specific questions. But if you have a template outlining all the questions and you score each one it will make it much easier to evaluate and decide between candidates. They also make for a very helpful post evaluation discussion tool if you need to debate outcomes internally.
Hire for diversity
A lot of us look for people that are the same as themselves, or at least similar. People we can relate to, who we believe as a result will help build the business more successfully. However, this is rarely the case. Teams need diversity, different personalities with different strengths that complement one another. If you embrace that concept you can build a much stronger team. Don’t expect them to think the same as you, look for people who think differently – the business will be much stronger as a result.