Although the Irish economy has held steady in recent years, and even grown by roughly 5% last year, this is far from a guarantee of success for businesses. Building the right team of employees is crucial to your success - and all savvy HR managers and business owners know this. But how do ensure that you are building the best team possible with everything else that is going on in your day-to-day job? It all starts with the hiring process, and in many cases the interview is your number one chance to avoid bad hires, and build a successful team. Below, we've listed our top seven tips for HR managers and interviewers, so you can hone your company's interview process to a fine art. Properly applied, you can make sure that your business follows the Irish economy's overall trend toward growth. Once you do this, you'll be one step closer towards building your "dream team"!
Let’s take a look:
1. Be Well Prepared
Job interviews are a serious matter: don't make the mistake of thinking you can "wing" an interview. Even if you find a good candidate, chances are that you'll miss a few important questions if you aren't prepared. So always create your list of questions and follow-ups beforehand. If you're stuck, think about the following ideas when you brainstorm:
- What employee skills and traits are required for the day-to-day operation of the role you are interviewing for?
- What weaknesses could cause an employee to be an inefficient or unproductive part of your workplace?
2. Give the Candidate Adequate Information Before the Interview
Do you require your applicants to provide references? Is there any sort of dress code that they should follow, or other necessary information? Best practices dictate telling all applicants about these policies before the interview. As a plus, this can also eliminate interviewees who cannot follow instructions! Also, make sure you give the interviewee the information they need to be successful. Tell them what you will talk about, and the type of questions you are going to ask. You’re not trying to trick anyone, you are trying to find the best candidate. The best candidate is more often than not the person who prepares well given the information available.
3. Be Nice, and Develop Rapport Early
When you're interviewing a potential employee, you may be tempted to present your intimidating side, but there are better ways to assess the potential employee's strengths and weaknesses. People are more likely to be honest and forthright when they have rapport with an interviewer; this means that you should be friendly and conversational. Even if you're unsatisfied with an answer, do your best to stay impartial. This will not only put the interviewee at ease, it will allow you to make a more objective, clearer decision about how they would function as an employee.
4. Be Honest About Your Concerns About Their Application
Although the hiring process often requires some level of compromise - and from time to time, a leap of faith based on a "gut feeling" about a certain applicant - that doesn't mean that you should glance over potential red flags that are present in their application. Are they under, or over-qualified for the job? Do they have the requisite level of experience or education? Sometimes, it's worthwhile to overlook these deficiencies, but more often than not, you should follow your gut and your company's guidelines. But don’t lose a good candidate by keeping these things hidden. It may be uncomfortable for a moment, but bring your biggest concerns to the table and see how they handle it.
5. Actually Listen to Responses
This sounds simple, but in the chaos that often surrounds the interview process, the applicant's answers sometimes get lost in the mix. Instead of thinking about your next question, actually listen to the candidate's response and reply as if it were a normal conversation. Not only should you listen to the interviewee's responses, you should also listen for clues about the potential employee's attitude and demeanor from their answer. For example, are their answers scripted and inauthentic? That could be a bad sign.
6. Make the Interview a Conversation, Not a Q&A
Even though you need to ask questions, you should take special care not to overwhelm the interviewee - remember that the interview process can be unnerving when you're sitting on the other side of the table. To paraphrase an old Monty Python comedy bit, nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition! What exactly do we mean by "making an interview a conversation"? By no means are we suggesting that you shouldn't ask questions, but rather that you should provide some context to your questions. To illustrate what we mean, compare the following questions - each is essentially asking the same thing:
- What will you bring to our team?
- We have a very tight-knit office here, and we often divide into teams to accomplish tasks. What skills and abilities do you think you'll bring to that kind of environment?
Do you think question #1 or #2 will elicit a more natural and honest response? (Hint: It's the question with more words!)
7. Dress and Act Professionally
Last, but not least, let's address the topic of your own personal appearance. Just like your interviewee should dress up for the interview, so should you. Not only does this show the applicant that you are serious and business-like, it sets realistic expectations for day-to-day operations at your business.
What additional interview tips do you have for finding great candidates?