Tips for Employers Holding an Effective Job Interview

by Carol Nibley
Last month’s column focused on a well-rounded interview process to include a good application, team interviews, and a realistic job preview. Despite inherent problems with the interview itself, I recommend the following suggestions to help ensure this component of the hiring process is as effective as possible:

Prepare for the interview. Review each candidate’s resume and application prior to sitting down with the candidate.

Briefly introduce yourself and your position relative to the hiring decision. Explain the steps in the interview process and provide basic information about the company and the position.

Ask the same core questions of each candidate for the same position. Select questions that will help elicit the type of information you want to know. Make sure you know what questions are illegal and stay away from them.

Evaluate candidates based on their ability to do the job. Don’t fall into common interviewer traps—making a judgment based on similar backgrounds and interests or on likability factors.

If candidates have trouble answering some questions, reassure them they may take time to consider their responses. Often, interviewers try too hard to “help” a candidate and miss an opportunity to get important information. Feel free to smile and be supportive, but don’t let them off the hook if there’s a question they don’t want to answer.

Let the candidate do most of the talking. Use the 80/20 rule as a guide—candidates should speak 80 percent of the time.

Don’t oversell the company or the opportunity. Few things are more frustrating than hiring and training a new employee, only to have them leave when a better offer comes along, because the position isn’t what they were expecting.

Next month, we’ll focus on specific interview questions to ask and to avoid.

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