Hiring Wisdom: How to Become a Master Interviewer
When was the last time you had someone evaluate your interviewing process?
It's the best way to improve your skills and make better hiring decisions across the board. So, ask someone to sit in on your next interview, not to evaluate the applicant, but to evaluate your process and technique.
Below is a checklist of some of the things they should look for:
What did you do to make the applicant feel comfortable?
Did you give the applicant an overview of how you would conduct the interview and examples of the kinds of answers you would be looking for?
Did you position the applicant to tell you the truth?
How much did you tell the applicant about the company and the job before you started asking questions?
What did your body language tell the applicant?
Was there a structure to the interview; a logical flow of questions?
Did you take notes and, if you did, did you wait until the applicant said something positive before you wrote down anything negative?
Did you probe for in-depth answers and real proof of accomplishments?
Did you help or prompt the applicant's answers or were you able to remain silent until an answer was provided?
Did you close on a positive note and tell the applicant what the next step would be? Did you give the applicant a chance to ask questions?
Did you sell the applicant on the company even if you were not interested in hiring this particular person?
Were you able to maintain control of the interview or did the applicant sometimes take over?
Roughly, what percentage of the time were you talking vs. listening?
Did you wait until you were through with the interview before you evaluated the answers?
If you're unable to invite an observer, at least use the above to evaluate yourself.
Why are these things important? A few reasons:
1) Too many hiring decisions are made based on first impressions. A study by the University of Chicago found that 90% of interviewers make a hiring decision within the first 14 seconds of meeting the applicant. And biases, such as finding out the applicant is from your hometown or your alma mater, can cause us to hire who we like best instead of the person who is best for the job. Don't make the interview a waste of time--use it to get beyond that snap decision.
2) You need to be prepared and ask the right questions. Every unprepared interviewer in the world says: "Tell me about yourself," and then asks: "Where do you see yourself in five years?" And every job applicant has rehearsed answers to these questions. Instead, ask specific questions about previous jobs that will uncover the person's work ethic, commitment, and drive.
3) Many interviewers talk too much. You can't learn anything while talking. Rule of thumb: The applicant should do the talking at least 80% of the time.