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Dear David: Crafting the perfect job interview

May 8/15, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 24

By David Romano

 

Dear David:
I’m finding that I have to conduct too many interviews before I can fill just one position. It seems like I am wasting time on people who are not even qualified to do the job. Even worse, when I find someone who can do the job they decline the offer. Any ideas?

Dear Frustrated Owner,
Screen Shot 2017-03-06 at 10.37.51 AMKeep in mind that 29% of candidates refuse a job offer because of how poorly the interview went. In order to avoid this, let’s create a protocol for your interviews so you can determine the best hire for your business and stop turning good people away or wasting time. Follow these three tips:

Establish an interview agenda. Build an outline for the entire interview, which should take no more than 45 minutes. Sketch out the framework with a set length of time for each section, covering information about the company, the job scope, position requirements, compensation. Include time to find out about the candidate through probing questions. Reserve a few minutes at the end for question and answer.

Focus on the candidate. Before asking the first interview question, review the job description, especially the hiring criteria, as well as everything the interviewee has submitted: résumé, cover letter, online profile, etc. This allows you to hone in on what you’re looking for in candidates. It should give you:

  • Firsthand information about the candidate’s background, work experience and skill level. It’s your chance to clarify what you learned from the résumé, profile or previous interviews;
  • A general sense of the candidate’s overall intelligence, aptitude, enthusiasm and attitudes, and whether he/she fits the job;
  • The capability to evaluate a candidate’s motivation to tackle job responsibilities, desire to join the company and ability to integrate into the current work team.

Don’t improvise. Prior to the actual interview, write down questions you intend to ask based on key areas of the candidate’s background. While it’s a good idea to have a core list of questions that you ask every candidate, it’s also helpful to jot down some targeted questions for clarification as you review the job description and résumé. Keep your list of questions in front of you during the interview.

Try this technique in your next interview; you will be surprised how much you learn. You can also mix up the types of questions you ask, but ask more open-ended questions since they require more thought on the part of the interviewee and will help he/she open up. Ask two or three hypothetical questions that are framed in the context of an actual job situation. Feel free to ask an off-the-wall question to see how the candidate thinks on his or her feet.

Pay attention to the candidate’s answers; don’t rehearse your next question in your mind. Although you have your questions written down, don’t hesitate to veer from those if you want to reword or follow up on something, or eliminate questions that were already covered.

After you’ve given the candidate a chance to ask questions, close the interview by thanking him/her for his/her time and tell him/her when to expect to hear from you.

As soon as the candidate leaves from the interview, collect your thoughts and write down your impressions and a summary of your notes. Collect feedback from any other interviewers while the interview is fresh in everyone’s mind.

You’ll find that if you focus on your business needs during your interview process you’ll find the best new hire every time.

 

David Romano is the founder of Romano Consulting Group and Benchmarkinc, a group that provides consulting, benchmarking,
recruiting and software solutions to the flooring, home improvement and restoration industries.