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Interviewing

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Hi everyone, I’m Naomi Burgess and I’m going to give you a detailed insight into how hiring and interviewing people the right way can be beneficial for your business.

I’m sure many of you have been in the interviewee’s chair on many occasions before you finally started your own business. Remember how nervous you felt before, during and after? Keep that in mind when you decide to expand your business and your human resources and remember that the interviewer – in this case, you – is likely to feel just as nervous as the interviewee, particularly if it’s your first time. And that’s absolutely fine! I’ll tell you now about the best ways to make sure the interview goes as well as possible.

Be ready

Preparation is always the key. If you’re unprepared, it shows, and chances are, your potential candidate would be uncomfortable, he or she wouldn’t even want to come back to work for you. Preparation doesn’t just matter when the candidate enters your office, however: you need to carefully prepare a vacancy description, list of responsibilities, application requirements and contact information. Make sure to review the description a couple of times at least before you advertise it. When the CVs and cover letters start to come in, read carefully through each one – don’t just throw them out if you don’t like the first paragraph. If you’re using an electronic application form with yes/no answers to entry requirements questions, don’t just ignore the ones that don’t match one or two requirements you set – they might surprise you.

Review each info’s

Once you made a “to-be-interviewed” pile of application forms and CVs, make sure to read through each of them again, and highlight any areas you’re interested to know more about. For example, if you’re running a law firm and are looking for a paralegal, you might be interested in previous experiences in the legal sector, and some candidates could have done some pro bono work you’re not familiar with, but whose skills gained during that experience might be very valuable to you. Don’t be alarmed by those CVs that include something you don’t know much about, like in the example I just gave you. There is no such thing as a perfect job application, and you’ll get a chance to learn more about the candidate’s experiences during the interview!

Explain the interview process

When you contact your chosen candidates, make sure to clearly introduce yourself and say that you’re calling about a job they recently applied for. Following that, offer them a timeframe within which you would be available to interview them and after you both agree on date and time, provide them with an address and your contact information. Within 24 hours after the call, you should send them an e-mail confirmation containing information you discussed.

Interview Question Guides

As I said above, preparation is very, very important. Make a plan of the upcoming interview in advance and an approximate list of the questions you might want to ask the candidate. Below I’m listing some examples of the typical interview questions:

  • What do you know about the company?
  • Why did you apply for this job/why does the industry interest you?
  • Which of your skills and experiences do you consider to be most valuable for this position?
  • What motivates you?
  • What do you consider to be your main strength and weaknesses?

This list is, of course, not exhaustive – members of different industries would want to ask different questions pertaining to their industries. Also, when you make your list, try to allocate an appropriate amount of time for answering each question – don’t make it too long, but try not to include too many yes/no questions.

Create a comfortable environment

On the day of the interview, or interviews if you’re meeting several candidates within a day, do make sure that you have sufficient facilities to conduct the interview – a well-lit room with at least a table, two desks and water are the basic necessities. In some cases, you would also require access to a computer or two (for example, for a test of some kind) and pen and paper.

Greet each other

When the candidate lets you know that he/she has arrived, step out to greet them. The moment you lock eyes with them is the moment your interview begins. Be observant – take note of the candidate’s demeanor, clothes, manners; are they too nervous? Do they appear to be sober? Is their outfit neat and tidy? All these things matter. Be professional and greet them with a smile and a handshake and invite them into the interview room. Offer them some water and make some initial small talk (unless that makes you nervous) – for example “Did you have any trouble finding this place?”

Introducing Portion

Start the interview with introducing yourself and telling the candidate a little about your role in the company. Then follow the plan you made in advance. Don’t be afraid to deviate from it, though – each candidate has a unique skill set. Listen to each answer carefully and don’t be afraid to ask to clarify or repeat something. The candidate will know if you’re listening or if you’re distracted – do pay attention and don’t be dismissive of anything they say. Engage with the candidate, don’t just nod along – show your interest in what they’re saying; that tells them that you’re serious about filling the position and that they can hope for a response, whether positive or negative. Don’t cut them off at any point, unless they’ve taken up a lot more time than you expected to answer a question – interruptions are rude.

Give interviewee the time to ask questions

At the end of the interview, make sure to give the candidate an opportunity to answer any of the questions they might have about the position, or the company. Answer them as honestly and in as much detail as you can – a job is a very important part of a person’s life and they should have all the information before them prior to making a decision, if they’re lucky to receive an offer. Make an effort to sound as welcoming as possible – presumably, you’re just as interested in hiring them as they’re in working for you.

Attitude and gestures upon the interview

However, words only make up around 10{71f0b96d7fb9125465257c4beabfd4b54654a6dcc01d6b761d78baf7e14996ab} of communication tools. The rest of the getting-to-know-each-other process consists of maintaining eye contact, body position and mannerisms, smiles and other facial expressions, the way the words are spoken – if the candidate’s speech is slurred or they appear to take long pauses to answer a question, they might be either be unprepared or too nervous, or even inebriated. Do observe how they place their hands – if they lock their fingers together, they might be assuming a defensive position, and if they fidget too much with their clothes or hair, they’re losing confidence. However, if their hands are open on the table, they’re confident and prepared for open communication. All the above indicators are important, but don’t base your decision on them alone – you never know for certain why a candidate is acting the way they are.

Make an impression

As I said earlier, it’s completely natural for you to be nervous too – after all, a candidate is, in their own way, interviewing you too. You’re therefore facing quite a challenge – if a candidate is a very good one, they would likely have very high standards about where and with whom they would like to work, and they would certainly be analysing you, just like you would be analysing them. Think carefully about the impression you want to make and make sure to have the best impression you can on each and every candidate you meet with. Don’t dwell too much on how you’ve come across during the interview afterwards, though – just be yourself!

Interview skills are very important, particularly if you’re looking to make your business grow and want to hire talented people. To make the best possible impression of yourself and your company, all you need to do is act professional, yet natural. Think about all those times you were nervous during job interviews and think about what went right and wrong during them; then apply what you’ve learnt then when you’re conducting your own interviews. If your firm and a candidate are the right fit for each other, your interview will go smoothly too!

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