Interview Tips for Inexperienced Hiring Managers

Conducting Interviews? 11 Tips for Inexperienced Hiring Managers

When it comes to searching for a new employee, the stakes are high.

How high?

Financially speaking, 41% of companies believe bad hires cost them over $25,000, while 25% put the price tag at $50,000+. And then there’s the mental and emotional strain associated with bad employees.

Because so much off the hiring decision comes down to the in-person interview — and because so few hiring managers have been taught how to conduct interviews — we asked 11 experts for their top interview tips.

How to Conduct an Interview: 11 Tips

1. REALLY understand the position you are trying to fill … Skill set is very important but can often be taught by training and on-the-job shadowing. What cannot be taught is a fit with the position and/or the company at large.

 Jason Goldberg, COO & Peak Performance Strategist at Fasold Global Consulting

2. Ask the same questions of every applicant for the same job. By doing this, you can evaluate each candidate on the same questions and responses and reduce potential discrimination claims.

 Eugena Bellamy, Marketing & Sales Coordinator at StaffScapes, Inc.

3. Practice. We would never go into an athletic, musical, or business presentation without practice! But interviewers do it all the time. Remember, we play like we practice. So it pays to be prepared.

Steve Langerud, DePauw University

4. Give a group assignment. If there are no other candidates available, take a few co-workers and give the task to the team. Sit back and observe the applicant’s actions, words, leadership potential, et cetera.

 Dr. Marlene Caroselli, Author & Corporate Trainer

5. Don’t talk too much. It’s human nature to want to fill the ‘dead air’ in a conversation, but one of the best ways to really explore a candidate’s thinking is to resist the urge to fill that dead air and instead let them do so. When the human mind starts racing for things to talk about a lot of the filters get pushed aside, and that’s when you see what’s really behind the pre-planned answers.

 Rich Enos, CEO and Co-Founder of StudyPoint, Inc.

6. Prepare your questions in advance. Don’t expect to wing it and get good results.

 Brenda VanderMeulen, River Hills Consulting

7. Drop “So, tell me about yourself.” A far better way to begin is this: “From everything you’ve learned about this role, me and our company, tell me how you feel you’d be a [good] contribution.”

Hit them right between the eyes. Those who have really done their homework will love this opportunity to shine and stand out, demonstrating that they have done all the homework that can absolutely be done in today’s world of instant information. Those who haven’t will stumble and try to put something generic together, which will be obvious. The interviewer can then know, right upfront, how much time they’re going to put into each candidate. Keep it short for the unprepared.

 Darrell W. Gurney, CareerGuy.com

8. Identify what competencies are needed for any particular position (skills, knowledge, and behaviors). Then create a structured interview guide that has behavioral questions targeting those competencies. Behavioral interview questions are those that seek specific past experiences, as they are the best indicators of future behavior. Managers can come up with a scoring guide. This process keeps it objective and is the best way to get past a candidates fluff and ascertain if they are a good fit.

 Rachel Karu, Founder of RAE Development

9. Don’t ask hypothetical questions because people make up the answer. Instead, ask for specific situations. For example, don’t ask, “What would you do if a customer gets angry on the phone?” Instead, ask, “Tell me of a time when someone got mad at you — what did you do?”

 Bob Legge, President of Legge & Company, LLC

10. Pre-screen all candidates by phone to avoid wasting time interviewing people who clearly aren’t the right fit.

 Roberta Chinsky Matuson, President of Human Resource Solutions

11. Request job candidates develop and bring an interview presentation. The presentation will compensate for a hiring managers’ lack of interview skills.

 Eric Kramer, President & Chief Innovation Officer at Innovative Career Services

What are we missing? Please share your interviewing wisdom in the comments below!

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