Three Steps in Conducting a Great Interview: Part Two

In Step One we talked about preparing for the interview and researching your candidate.  Now that you’ve done your homework, it’s time to put it all to use.  After all, the interview itself is merely an extension of the work you’ve already done in preparation.

It follows, then, that the more prepared you are, the more you’ll get out of actually meeting the candidate.  But even with the best preparation, you’re not off the hook yet.

Step Two: Giving the Interview

From the moment the candidate walks into the room your challenge will be to balance everything you already know about the individual with everything you don’t.  In other words, consider the knowledge you’ve already unearthed about this person, but don’t let that eclipse what you may discover in the next hour or so.  The interview, after all, is the candidate’s chance to prove that he or she is more than what you’ve read on a resume.

Beginning with the first impression, guard yourself against making a knee-jerk reaction.  It is part of our human instinct to make an early decision about someone based on the first couple of minutes with them.  Succumbing to this habit may cloud your judgment for the remainder of the interview, and it could create undue expectations that will work for or against the candidate.

That said, pay careful attention to the candidate’s behavior.  Does this person exemplify the tratis advertised in her or her resume?  When they claimed in their cover letter to be assertive and a “go-getter,” do you get that impression from the candidate as you watch him or her answer questions?

While you watch the candidate’s behavior take note of how directly he or she answers questions.  On the one hand, too much tap-dancing around the answer may be an indication of uncertainty or dishonesty.  On the other hand, answers that seem too well rehearsed may be evidence of just that.

Finally, change things up at some point in the interview.  While you want the candidate to be at ease and able to answer questions accurately, you also want to know that this individual can perform well under changing circumstances.

Be sure to come prepared with at least one or two questions that the candidate has probably never been faced with in an interview.  Even if the subject matter is somewhat peripheral to the job itself, take this as an opportunity to see how quickly your candidate can shift gears and with what level of comfort and professionalism he or she handles it.

A lot goes into giving a thorough, useful interview, and it can’t all be covered in a few blog posts.  These are some great places to start and should get you off to a solid start in your search for talent.

Celarity is a Minneapolis staffing agency that works with marketing, communications, and creative professionals looking to explore new work opportunities, and get connected with organizations that are hiring.

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