Hey there, hard-working business owner/entrepreneur/solopreneur/whatever the heck you call yourself.
Welcome to the final installment of ‘All About Interviews’.
Let me guess, your business has blown up and you’ve come to the realization that you REALLY need to hire someone.
Maybe you’re just starting to consider hiring someone to off-load some of your day-to-day tasks (sweet, sweet delegation); or are you already preparing to interview someone tomorrow but aren't really sure how to go about it?
This post will give you the basic guidelines you need to start expanding your business while managing not to pull out most of your hair in frustration.
RULE 1: Have a clear understanding of the role you’re hiring for and what your company needs.
Ideally, you’ll take the time to research or at least go over the details of the position you’re hiring for. After you’ve nailed that down you'll use this information as the foundation from which you create your job ad and basic experience requirements for pre-selecting the candidates you’ll ultimately be interviewing.
It’s VITAL that you understand this is an important step that can save you time and money in the long run. Joe Flores of Insperity says that a hiring manager who doesn’t fully understand the role they’re hiring for skips the research and rushes through the hiring process, then it may take longer than necessary. PLUS, you risk not hiring the right person for the job in the first place.
Ultimately, you may find the position you’re hiring for may not even solve the problems you actually wanted to address with bringing a new hire on in the first place.
RULE 2: Have a list of relevant questions ready.
After you’ve completed your assessment above you have to come up with relevant questions.
The only kinds of questions you should be thinking up on the fly during the interview are follow-up questions based on the conversation between you and the candidate. If you don’t want your interview candidates coming in unprepared you'd better not rest on your laurels!
This isn’t the time for improvisation. This is the time to implement a focused plan in order to ensure the candidate is not just technically or professionally qualified, but is also a great fit for your group or organization. Write out a list of dealbreakers and ask appropriate questions to ensure the candidate in question meets your requirements.
Pressed for time? The Balance has listed common questions by job type to get you started. Don’t feel compelled to ask all of the listed questions, though. Use your discretion and only ask the ones that are relevant to your company and environment.
RULE 3: Warm things up by getting the interviewee to talk about him/herself.
As a business owner, your first instinct is probably to get straight to the point, but if you make the interview too formal and direct it could be very disconcerting for your potential new hire.
However, experts suggest aiming to make the interview as conversational as possible. Put your interviewee at ease by making things flow as naturally as you can. What’s the first thing you do when you meet a stranger? You ask them to tell you a bit about themselves.
It’s okay to let your interviewees talk about themselves at the start, without the pressure of “Why should I hire you?” waiting to smack them in the face right out of the starting gate.
RULE 4: Listen slowly.
In this Inc.com article, contributing editor Jeff Haden writes about the importance of listening slowly, a technique described by author Rodger Dean Duncan. Rodger learned this method from news anchor Jim Lehrer.
According to them, listening slowly can be as simple as waiting a few seconds before responding to an interviewee’s answers; or resisting the urge to fill the silence with a follow-up question.
RULE 5: Don’t forget to allot time for the interviewee’s questions.
Remember that you’re assessing the candidate, and a part of this is paying attention to whatever questions they may have. Aside from the obvious aspect of providing them with clarification on topics which were discussed or not broached upon during your prior discussion, their questions give you a peek into their level of interest and how well they’d fit into the role.
That being said, it doesn’t mean a lack of questions is necessarily a bad thing, especially if your candidate has managed to squeeze some in throughout the rest of the interview or you’ve pretty much covered all of their concerns up to this point.
But, if they didn’t ask any questions at all during your discussion and nothing came up towards the end, chances are this is the way they’d function as an employee.
A complete lack of questions shows lack of interest and isn’t a good sign. The candidate should be invested in trying to determine if working with/for you is good for them with as much enthusiasm and preparedness as you brought to the interview.
RULE 6: Explain the hiring process and what to expect (Next Steps).
Got all the answers you’re looking for and it’s time to wrap things up?
Now, before you show them the door, make sure your interviewer knows what to expect. It’s courteous to notify them if you’re taking time to deliberate or have several more candidates to speak with. It's also a good idea to let them know what the next steps will be. Whether you want to proceed, or decide to go with another applicant.
Will there be a 2nd or 3rd interview?
Will there be some sort of test to prove their skills?
If it’s just a matter of contacting them with your final decision give the candidate a reasonable timeline by when they can expect to hear back from you, at the very least.
Whether they got the job or not, it’s important to let your applicants know in a timely fashion. Even if it’s uncomfortable.
Imagine yourself in their shoes and treat them with the respect and dignity that they deserve.
Join the Facebook group #LevelUp Your Career for support from others looking to achieve career success.