Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Q. How do I get the most out of job interviews with candidates?

A. We all know that one way to find the right person for a job is through interviewing. Yet many owners and managers wait until the last minute - often when applicants walk through their office doors - to come up with a list of interview questions. Then they simply follow their gut instincts to decide whether to hire an applicant or not.  At best, this is sloppy. At worst, this can be very detrimental to your business if you hire wrong.

First of all, to interview the right way, owners and managers must define what they want a position to accomplish before they even begin their search for applicants. They must write strong job descriptions and define non-negotiables. For a sales person, for example, they may require five years of experience in home care.

Once owners and managers reach the interview stage, they must ask questions that force candidates to talk about situations in their past jobs. Don’t allow applicants to focus on hypothetical “what if” criteria. Ask them pre-determined, open-ended questions instead of yes or no questions. Begin your questions with “tell me about a specific time when you…” or “describe a specific situation where you…”

Finally, take good notes.

We all know interviewing is not easy; however, it’s easier when it’s done right. Practice these ideas and you’ll be surprised at how much better your interviewing and hiring becomes.

Ian McCracken is president and owner of Professional Recruiting International. Reach him at ian@pror