Resume updates and interviews

Is your candidate of choice turning you down?

Or another way to look at it is “do your managers have the interview skills they need to hire the right people?”.

I’ve written blogs and coached many people on what to do during a job interview, helped them through the self-doubt and sweaty palms stage.  I’ve coached them on how to answer questions and what questions they should ask the interviewer.  My clients are ready to strut their stuff, show what they are made of, get it done and get hired.

But, are the managers ready for the interview process?

I’ve got to say a big “NO”.  Some of my clients come back with horror stories detailing the ineffectiveness of the interviewers.  WHAT?  Say it ain’t so…  Are there really companies that have managers who don’t know how to interview job candidates?

Have you caught the sarcasm yet?

Yes, indeed and I’m here to tell you that you (insert your company name) have a problem.  It is easily solvable if you realize it, but sometimes “you don’t know what you don’t know”.  You need to coach on how to conduct the best interview possible. How to put someone at ease, how to ask questions, and not just which ones are legal and which are not.  Teach them to listen and hear what isn’t being said.  Have them learn to watch body language and really pay attention.

An interview is a conversation between two or more people.  You want to hire someone and they want a job.  You EACH want to find out as much as possible in that very limited amount of time.  Each side has choices and a lot of it comes together during the interview process.

That’s the point, isn’t it?

Step one, smile at the candidate and make them feel comfortable.  Start with some light conversation.  You’ll get more valuable information that way.  Intimidation doesn’t work at all.

Step two, understand the details of the job.  Not everything is written on a posted job description and the candidate might ask for more information.  You need to fully understand what the daily routine actually is so you can explain it in enough detail so the candidate leaves with a better picture of expectations.

Step three, don’t dominate the conversation.  Ask open ended questions: who, what, where, why, how… and listen to the answers.  Ask them to expand on things that show their strengths that could be a fit for the job and your organization.  Hiring people where the strengths and values match the company is more important than hearing about weaknesses.

“But I always ask about weaknesses”, you say.

And I say “why?”.   A candidate will give you the mildest weakness they can think of and who cares any way.  How about ask them about their challenges or where they want to grow?  Aren’t you more interested in what they can do?  Stop thinking about the inconsequential things they can’t.  For example, my weakness is patience.  It’s something I’ve been working on for years.  Would that prevent me from getting a job?  Probably not.  When you ask negative questions it just makes the potential hire nervous.

Step four, ask them if they have any other questions or something they didn’t get to cover.  Always thank them for coming in.  Tell them about the process and how long it might take.  Then, and this is incredibly important, get back to them.  It’s unprofessional to interview someone and then never touch base again.  It can be an email, phone call or even snail mail…  Always let them know the final disposition.  Don’t leave them hanging.

Finally, enjoy it.  You’re meeting someone new and having a conversation, don’t make it drudgery.  Be proud of the company you’re working for, share your experience and enthusiasm.  If you’re open, honest, and comfortable, the candidate will be too.

Go hire someone awesome!


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