Five tips for better interviewing

SIXTH STAR BUSINESS ARTICLE

Five Tips for Better Interviewing

Interviewing and hiring is one of the most important elements of a manager's job. The little things we do or don't do when interviewing can make a big difference. 

Here are some tips and reminders for improving your interviewing skills.

1. Schedule appropriately. I know it never seems there is a good time to interview candidates. There are plenty of times it's pretty close to impossible. Don't schedule an interview unless you're positive you're going to be in a position to give the interviewee your full attention. Even better, schedule an extra manager that timeslot to ensure you won't be interrupted.  

2. Make a great first impression. Never forget that the candidate is interviewing you as much as you are interviewing him/her. One of the best first impressions ever made on me was when a manager met me at the door for my interview. Compare that to the manager who kept me waiting for twenty minutes because he was on a conference call. He obviously didn't read that first point about scheduling.

3. Eliminate distractions. Both you and the candidate have invested valuable time for this interview, so it's only appropriate (and polite) that she have your undivided attention. For many of us that means turning off screens, and possibly even leaving the office.

4. Listen to learn. Years ago during a job fair I had to interview something like 500 people in a day. Okay, maybe it just seemed like 500. At the end of the day we sat down to discuss which candidates we liked and which we didn't. One of my colleagues asked me about a particular candidate and I realized I knew nothing about the person beyond the application and a few of the questions I asked. If I wasn't so tired I would have been embarrassed. Okay, I was embarrassed.

I learned that day that I have to be highly engaged in every interview, and I needed to listen to learn. I couldn't just ask a question, I had to really listen to the answer. I needed to better understand the why instead of the what. I needed to hear what a customer would hear. Candidates usually have a lot of good things to say that will help us make the right decision, but it will only help us if we're listening intently.  

5. Ask good interview questions that candidates can't use canned answers. I'd recommend the six interview questions I share in this article. You can read them here.

So let me ask, what can you yourself do to become a better interviewer? Share that with another person, and try it with the next employment candidate.

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