As a hiring manager, your job is to pick the right candidates for the positions that open up at your organization. That’s quite the responsibility.
If you consider yourself an expert interviewer, that’s great. But not everyone in a position of authority has the interview process down to a science. Whether you’ve never been comfortable interviewing candidates or you’ve recently been promoted and are about to interview your first round of prospects, here are five things to keep in mind that should help you make better hiring decisions:
01. Don’t shoot from the hip
You may have unrivaled job security and feel as though you’re the best interviewer on the planet. But in the interest of fairness, you need to do at least a little bit of prep work before sitting face-to-face with a candidate.
Read over their résumé and pull some very specific questions from it. If you’re hiring someone straight out of school for a copywriting job, you might want to ask what the candidate’s favorite book from college was. If you’re hiring someone for a more senior position and they worked at a different agency, ask what their favorite client was and why.
02. Keep it casual
A recent study revealed that a whopping 92% of US professionals suffer from some form of interview anxiety. Since a vast majority of folks who’ll sit down across the table from you are going to be at least a little bit nervous, it’s your job to make them comfortable. Do that by keeping it casual and opening up the interview with one or two questions to break the ice. Ask them to tell you about themselves. Ask them if they had trouble finding the office. You get the gist.
03. Vary the kinds of questions you ask
Great interviews include a mix of different kinds of questions. Some questions are more traditional by nature. What is your biggest weakness? What made you apply for this job? Others can be more situational. How do you deal with stress at work?
You’ll also want to ask questions that pertain to behavior. When was the last time you failed at a project?
Last but not least, ask questions to determine whether a candidate is the right culture fit. When one of your coworkers does an awesome job, how do you react?
04. Don’t settle for hypothetical answers
Let’s say you’re asking a candidate how they respond under pressure. That person might be tempted to say that they are magnificently calm in every conceivable situation. Don’t let them get away with giving vague answers. Tell them to respond as specifically as possible and describe a real-world situation where they were under an intense amount of pressure but still delivered.
05. Dig deep into the details
Don’t let a candidate give generic answers about that one time their coworker was really busy and they took some work off their plate to help them. Be ready to fire up some follow-up questions. Why were they really busy? What work did you take off their plate? How did that turn out? The more details you uncover, the better idea you’ll get of each candidate you interview (and the easier it’ll be to see whether they’re telling the truth).