Interviewing a potential job candidate is a lot like going on a first date. First, there’s the anxious wondering – will they or won’t they be as great as their resumé suggested? Then, there’s the awkward first encounter, as you do your best to suss one another out across a boardroom table, waiting for that pivotal spark of chemistry to take hold.
As you ease into the conversation and start getting to know one another, you’ll start to wonder where this could all lead. Could this be ‘the one’? Will you grow, learn, laugh and prosper together? Or will it be a quick, passionate affair, one that burns brightly but crashes to the ground with equal ferocity?
As on any first date, you’ve only got a small window of time to make what could be a life-changing decision, so it’s important that you leave as little up to chance as possible. Because unlike in the world of dating, a mistake can’t be solved by simply refusing to answer your phone until the other party gets the hint.
So how do you make the most of the 60 or so precious minutes you’re afforded with your next job candidate? Simply put, if you want to find the perfect fit for your business and set the foundations for a fruitful long-term relationship, you’re going to need to ensure that you conduct the perfect interview.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just simply ‘wing it’, and see how you feel on the day. Many a hiring error has been committed over the years by unprepared interviewers relying on gut instinct alone to guide them. Yes first impressions might count, but they’re by no means always accurate.
If you want to hire for keeps, you’re going to need to be committed from the start, ensuring that you ask all the right questions and make all the right moves. Here are four top interview tips to help you find your perfect match:
DO YOUR HOMEWORK
You’re never going to find out everything you need to know about a potential hire in the space of an hour, so make sure to take time to research them properly. Get familiar with their CV, call around for references and don’t be afraid to engage in a spot of social media stalking – you’d be surprised how much you can learn about someone from their Facebook profile. If you go into the interview equipped with information about your subject, you’ll be in a much better position to ask the right types of questions.
STEER CLEAR OF ‘YES’ AND ‘NO’ ANSWERS
If you want to really get to know your potential hire, you need to give them a chance to shine. So steer clear of questions that force them into a yes or no quandary, instead using words like ‘how’ and ‘why’ to guide them down a more open-ended path that shows off their personality. And be sure to probe a little further while you’re at it. Most candidates will likely have prepared some stock-standard answers ahead of time, but by further interrogating the point – asking why a situation occurred, how it was resolved, what was learned from it – you’ll get an uncensored, unrehearsed result that’ll give you real insight into your interviewee.
THROW IN A FEW CURVEBALLS
Chances are, the person you’re interviewing has probably done this a few times. So they’re not going to be tricked into revealing deep, dark secrets about themselves by run-of-the-mill questions like ‘What is your greatest weakness?’ Everyone knows how to spin that into a positive. So throw in a few curveballs from time to time to keep them on their toes. Even the most seemingly innocuous requests – perhaps you’d like to know what their favourite animal is and why – can reveal unscripted insights you might never otherwise have stumbled upon.
LEAVE TIME FOR QUESTIONS
No interview should ever be a one-way interrogation. After all, two of you need to decide whether this is a good fit. You’ll find out a lot about your prospective candidate by giving them the floor, so make sure to leave time for questions at the end of the interview, and ensure you answer them thoughtfully and honestly. Yes, you’re selling yourself here, but selling a fantasy is only going to end in disaster. If you want to make sure your relationship lasts for the long-term, you’ll both need to go in feeling informed and confident that your goals and vision are aligned.