Interview Candidates – How to Hire the Best People

When you are interviewing candidates to fill a position, remember one thing: they are putting their best foot forward, so this is the best that they are going to look or act. It  doesn’t get any better than this. It’s a difficult task to find the right person to work for you and anyone you select will be a compromise, since we all have our strengths and weaknesses. What you need to accomplish in an interview is to determine their capabilities. Instead of playing games, just ask them about their strengths (what do they like to do?) and their weaknesses (what do they avoid doing?).

You should also know what your requirements are so you can match them with the capabilities of the candidate. You can accomplish this by asking questions like “What would you do if?” Again you’re not playing games; you’re getting them to respond to an actual situation so you can see how they would perform the job. You need to be well prepared for the interview by studying the application or resume and formulating questions. Interviewing is not easy because there are four levels of conversation occurring at the same time. You’re trying to gets information from the candidate and give him a favorable impression of your company.  The applicant is doing the same thing.

Maybe  the  most  important  aspect  of interviewing is  to  listen,  listen, listen. You can’t learn anything when you’re talking, so get them to talk by asking open-ended questions. Don’t ask questions that can be answered with a yes or no. Take some brief notes during the interview. This will assist you when you   have   to   make a selection, particularly if you are interviewing several people over a period of time. A good technique is to have another supervisor interview the candidate. Each   of   you   will   get different information that will help you with your decision.

Be aware of your prejudices; we all have them. I referred a candidate to a member of senior management and then asked his opinion.  He responded, “I like him, I want to hire him.” When I asked his reasons, after stumbling around, he finally said that the candidate was from Michigan. Guess where the senior officer was from? He wanted to hire him because he liked him, because they had something in common.  He should have found out what he could do and how well he could do it.

Also,   don’t   hire   people   just because they look or act like you. You should look at their qualifications, not their age, sex, race or religion.  If  you  adhere  to  this principle  you  won’t  have  to  worry about the E.E.O.C. laws and you’ll have a much better group of employees.