The interview is often the first chance that many companies have at meeting their clients directly. Prior to this, many clients have only been able to see the candidates' skills and qualifications. While technical "know-how" and previous management and team experiences are helpful, hearing about a candidate's earlier work experiences helps to flush out many of the questions surrounding the "why" of their employment history. To help make this process much more beneficial to both the company and the potential employee, creating a standardized interview process with a dose of flexibility helps compare candidates across the board.
Create a Standardized List of Questions
To help level the playing field and develop a sense of how candidates compare to one another, creating a standardized list of questions is essential. While some of these questions might have finite answers like yes or no, allow for others to provide free-form answers. For example, this list will assume that each candidate has already provided a list of qualifications that includes the technical expertise to perform their job. However, use this as an opportunity to determine the extent to which the candidate has used the software and if they are prepared to perform their job functions on day one.
Assess the Candidate's Preparation
Many companies recognize that most candidates are interviewing with more than one company at a time. However, this is no excuse for the candidate to come unprepared for the interview. If the position requires submission of materials ahead of time, like a portfolio of previous work products or written document, they should also be prepared to talk about the experience. Additionally, they should know about the company. This should extend to questions like why they prefer to work for your company and how to do they think they could add to the company and its culture?
Create a Structured Interview Process
Each candidate should be given the same consideration. This means that each candidate should follow the same pattern of interviews. According to The Society of HR Management, the most widely used interviewing techniques are pre-screening phone interviews, face-to-face discussions, and panel reviews. Some companies use one or all of these techniques. While each candidate may not make it through to participate in all three types of interviews based on how they perform, as you narrow down your list of candidates, each viable candidate should be given the same consideration as you make your final decisions.
Hone Your Listening and Observation Skills
While many interviewers come into an interview with a list of questions that need to be answered by the candidate, it is just as important for the interviewer to listen to those answers. According to the Harvard Business Review, There are objective and subjective parts of the interview process. This means that while the candidate will provide you with the answer to the question posed, what were their body language and vocal inflection telling you. Some objective observations might include Did they struggle to find an appropriate answer? Were they showing outward signs of anxiety-like changes in their voice or limited eye contact? Subjective observations might include their perceived confidence or the interviewee's feelings and attitudes.
Many potential employers treat the interview process as a time for the interviewee to tell them about him or herself. However, in reality, this is an opportunity for companies to create a highly structured atmosphere of questions and observations. It is a time where the interviewer can really delve into the candidate from not only the position of "Can you perform the functions needed to complete the required tasks?" but also assess their fitness with the company and ability to represent themselves adequately. For more information on how to improve the interview process or how TCSS can help with your interviewing needs, contact us.