If you’re the owner of a new tech start-up, or if you’ve recently had a promotion to CTO, congratulations! Although, you might not be anticipating that a significant part of your job is likely to become interviewing candidates. The chances are that hiring is not your main strength. But if the thought of conducting your first job interview make you more nervous than your potential interviewees, fear not. The following interview tips for hiring managers will have you feeling like a pro in no time.
Our Top Interviewing Tips for Hiring Managers
Preparation is Key
Interviewers expect candidates to prepare for interviews, so you should show them the same courtesy. Don’t let the first time you look at their CV be five minutes before meeting your potential new hire.
Study the job description and speak to those who will be working closely with your new employee beforehand. Doing so should provide the information you need to compile a list of appropriate interview questions.
Not sure where to start? Asking competency questions is an excellent way to identify candidates who are a good fit for your role.
For example, let’s say you want your potential employee to be good at time management. In that case, you might ask something like: Tell me about a time when you had to organise your schedule to meet a tight deadline.
Don’t just leave it there; probe further by asking follow-up questions such as: What did you learn from this experience? Were you pleased with the outcome? Is there anything you might do differently if you were in the same situation again?
Research Every Candidate
Good interviewers research potential candidates. They never rely solely on an applicant’s CV and cover letter. Cross-reference this information with their LinkedIn profile and other social media accounts. The aim is not to catch candidates out. Moreso, to form a 360° view of what they’re like as individuals or what they might be like to work with.
Try to enter each meeting with a good idea of why you would like to hire this person for the role. Understand why each applicant is a good match for the job description and what value their skills and experience might add to your team.
Be Consistent to Avoid Discrimination
Asking every candidate the same questions avoids being accused of discrimination. When interviewers are unprepared, they often find themselves asking inappropriate questions such as: ‘I see you studied Marketing at Manchester University, so did I, what year were you there?’.
While this might seem light and conversational, the answer could determine the individual’s age. Therefore, your line of questioning might be misconstrued as ageist.
Preparing an interview crib sheet can help maintain consistency. It also comes in handy if you can’t make it and someone has to take your place.
Being consistent with questioning can also help you compare the pros and cons of hiring each individual.
Treat Interviewees With Respect
If someone turned up late for their appointment, would you hire them? How about if they chewed gum or their mobile phone rang during your meeting? If you have deal-breakers that might eliminate potential hires from the process, be sure to pay them the same consideration.
As a rule, professional interviewers are on time, prepare well, dress for the occasion and always switch their phone off.
Remember the 50/50 Rule
The hiring process is as much for interviewees to get to know your company as it is for you to get to know them. So whenever you ask a question, allow them to answer fully before moving on. Pay attention to their answers and take notes throughout the meeting.
Hiring managers should always invite candidates to ask their own questions, so ensure you allow ample time for this.
Never Base a Decision One Impression
Many lousy hiring decisions are made on impulse. Putting these mistakes right can create a headache for your HR team and hurt your bottom line. Bad hiring decisions can also upset the balance and cause resentment within your existing team.
For this reason, most large corporations insist on a three-stage recruitment process consisting of:
- Telephone interview
- First face to face interview
- Final interview
While this might seem tedious and unnecessary, each round has its purpose. Also, you’ll likely learn something new about each applicant at every stage. The result will be more informed hiring decisions based on well-rounded opinions.
If you can’t devote the time to endless recruitment rounds, agencies can help by completing preliminary rounds for you. Video screening is particularly beneficial in this scenario and can dramatically reduce your time to hire.
Ensure Every Candidate Understands your Recruitment Process
Just like with the interview crib sheet, having a set interviewing process to follow encourages consistency. At the end of every meeting, be sure to explain:
- What your interview process is
- What the next steps are
- When the applicant can expect to hear from you with a decision
You may be lacking interview experience, but the candidate doesn’t know that. Try to make the experience as conversational as you can and try to put your interviewees at ease. Making eye contact with interviewees can make them feel like you’re paying attention. When someone feels like you’re interested in what they have to say, it can help them relax and open up.
It will help to have someone else present who’s good at taking notes. In a large corporation, this might be someone from HR. In a smaller business, it could be the person your potential employee will work with most closely.
You could even take turns to ask questions so that as one speaks, the other takes notes. Experience will reveal what works well for you and what doesn’t.
Always Provide Candidate Feedback
Even if you decide after your meeting that an applicant is unsuitable, make sure you tell them straight away. There’s nothing worse for a candidate than being ghosted after a job interview, knowing the employer just doesn’t want to tell them, ‘it’s a no’.
When the answer is no, offering constructive feedback can soften the blow a little. It enables candidates to discover their weaknesses and the opportunity to improve their chances in future.
If giving post-interview feedback is not something you feel comfortable doing, it’s worth having a conversation with a recruitment consultant. Providing feedback to candidates and preparing them for their next interview is all part of the service they provide.
At all costs, hiring managers should avoid using ‘not a good culture fit’ as an excuse not to hire someone. So maybe they’re not a good fit for your company culture? In that case, try telling them what qualities the successful candidate had that they didn’t.
Ask for Hiring Manager Feedback
You might think this is a brave thing to do but asking candidates for their feedback allows employers to improve their hiring process. This is all part of building an employer brand, which is essential for growing a talent pipeline.
Ask For Expert Advice
Recruitment consultants regularly converse with clients in your sector about what works well in interviews and what doesn’t. Therefore the knowledge they have to impart on this subject can prove invaluable.
A Few Final Thoughts on Interviewing
It doesn’t matter which side of the table you’re on; job interviews are nerve-wracking occasions. The more prepared you are, the more relaxed you will be, and your candidate will have a more pleasant experience as a result.
We hope that after reading these interview tips for hiring managers, you’re feeling more confident. If you’re still unsure and need some advice on the most effective recruitment process to follow, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We wish you the very best of luck in finding the next star of your team!