Interviewing made easy…

interview

Interviewing is not hard. But like so many things its success comes down to preparation. You need to carefully consider who you need to complete your team. Identify your requirements under these headings:

• Natural skills and talents
• Leant skills and experience
• Attitude and approach to work
• Team fit in terms of what is currently lacking in the team (for example you may need a detailed, completer, finisher or a creative, ideas person)
• Personal passion and enthusiasm

Once you have fully identified what is needed next scope out the interview questions to ask. This is simple. Ask for specific examples of where and how they have demonstrated the attributes that you want. For example, you need someone with great customer services skills in difficult circumstances. You then would ask the following questions:

Have you ever been in a situation where you had to handle a really difficult and irate customer?
What was the situation?
What was your exact role?
What did you do exactly?
How did you do it?
What were the results?

When it comes to the actual interview conduct it in two distinct halves. Often managers are very warm and welcoming at the beginning of an interview, keen to tell the applicant all about the job. Unfortunately, this gives the applicant who is good at interviews, but hopeless at the job, all the information they need to sell themselves back to you.



So the first half the interview is politely cold and uninformative. Greet them. Ask them about their journey. Offer tea, coffee as you would do normally but do not be overly warm. Introduce yourself, the other interviewers and state that you have a series of questions to ask.

Run through your questions. Give no indication whether they have given a good answer or not. Simply make your notes. Do not be concerned if there are any silences. These can be very valuable as some applicants fill in the silence by sharing more information about themselves. I have had applicants start talking about the divorce they are currently going through or how they hate their current boss.

When you have completed all of your questions set aside your formal pieces of paper and sell the company, team and job to them. Here you are allowed to become as enthusiastic and as animated as you wish while you outline what you want the job holder to achieve and how the organisations operates. Your goal here should be to give the individual as much truthful information as they need to make their decision whether your job is the right opportunity for them. Do not be tempted to oversell or hide unpleasant facts for a good candidate. They will find out the truth when they join and the good candidate becomes a disgruntled employee. If you have facts about your organisation you are tempted to hide at interview then this is a sure sign that you need to do something about them.

Following the steps above will increase your chances of a positive hire. However, remember even the most extensive hiring process employed by the big corporates still make hiring mistakes. If you find you have made an error speak up and act quickly. For your benefit and theirs.

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About Sue Ingram

Sue Ingram is Director and Founder of Converse Well, experts in conducting difficult conversations at work. She is an Honorary Teaching Fellow at Lancaster University, contributing workshops on Feedback to students on their International MBA program. Susan has over 25 years experience of conducting crucial conversations with staff, to motivate, to improve performance or to dismiss.