With the generational and workforce demographic challenges adversely impacting everybody’s ability to attract, hire, engage, develop and retain people; everyone needs a leg up on ensuring that they are putting their best foot forward in the employee selection process. Gallup reports that, on average, 30% of all hires feel mismatched to their role, and almost 70% of all working people feel somewhat disengaged either in their role or in their organization. The reality about these statistics is that is all begins with the hire.
There are five secrets to being a great interviewer. Learning about and mastering these keys empower you to maximize your effectiveness in hiring the right people, for the right roles, for the right reasons.
The first secret: Consciously prepare yourself.
By following Stephen Covey’s advice and beginning with the end in mind you provide the most value to your company and candidates. There are three types of preparation: role needs preparation, interviewing preparation, and self-preparation. Make sure you know and understand specifically what you want to come away with before you start the interview. Ultimately, you are interviewing to make a hiring recommendation, and it is your responsibility to fully understand the role you are hiring for as well as thoroughly understand the person you are considering matching to it.
Role. Ground yourself thoroughly in the needs of the role. Find out why it exists, its impact to the overall business strategy, as well as its success indicators. Understand the role’s core functions and what it will take in terms of people, leadership, and decision-making competencies. Be clear about the required technical skills, and the mandatory must haves (in that order).
Interview. During the interview, it is your job to determine the answer to these very important questions. Can the candidate really do the job? How long will the candidate be happy and productive? How will the candidate impact others?
Self. Bring your best self to the interview. The interview is not something you do to a candidate, is it something you go through together. Prepare yourself for interviewing with a balanced perspective. Consider the perspective of the role, the candidate, and the company during the interview. Take the time to review the candidate’s resume and the role requirements before you step in to the interview. Check in with yourself and make sure you are distraction free and that you are willing and able to be fully present during the interview. This means to turn off your phone and email, clear your desk and be ready.
The second secret: Bring structure.
Avoid the pitfall of interviewing on autopilot. Get yourself mentally prepped to be in an interview. With how busy a day around the office can be, it’s not unheard of to conduct interviews on the run or in a less than optimal setting. It’s important to use an agenda and an interviewing guide to get the most out of the interview.
Use a formal work history interviewing guide that gives you all the questions that you need answered. Be specific about the time and the duration of the interview. It is important that you plan time blocks for each section of the interview. A specific time block should be set for the beginning of the interview, where you gather insights and an overview of the candidate, their interests and why they think it is a fit. Block another time limit for the actual deep dive of the work history, and another for discovering the candidate’s goals and aspirations.
If you’d like to learn more on how to be an effective interviewer, watch my video below where I go into deeper detail on the secrets that will propel your interviewing techniques.