There’s no question that plenty of job applicants get nervous when it comes time to go to an interview – but what about the person doing the hiring?
If you’re a small business owner, you may not have an HR department, which leaves you to do the interviewing and hiring when it’s time to expand. It may seem overwhelming, but with some basic tips, you can absolutely step up to the challenge.
Make the candidate comfortable
It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been to two interviews or two hundred; some people are better at applying and interviewing for jobs than others.
But it’s important to remember that being good at interviews doesn’t necessarily make a candidate superior, so levelling the playing field is in everyone’s best interest. Doing what you can to help prepare the candidates, giving them a list of interview questions you plan to ask and perhaps suggestions on interview attire, can go a long way in setting a nervous applicant at ease.
Once the interview has begun, you can help reduce a candidate’s stress simply by smiling, making eye contact, and nodding as they are speaking to show that you are truly listening to what they’re saying. Try not to dominate the conversation by talking too much; allow the candidate to do the majority of the talking so that their personality can emerge.
Understand what you’re looking for
You may have a general idea of the person you’d want in the role you’re looking to fill, so as well as administrative duties and technical skills, remember to outline the personal qualities of your ideal candidate.
Further to that note, be sure to study each candidate’s CV so that you can ask questions relevant to their personal experience and fill in any information gaps they may have left.
You can also use a search engine to get an understanding of an applicant’s background – particularly useful if you’re hiring a creative person who may have an online portfolio or examples of their work on their public social channels.
During the interview
The questions you ask can directly impact how you end up seeing the candidate. Asking scenario-based questions, to get an idea of how each person will behave in certain situations, can help you better judge whether someone is a good fit for the role.
Important: don’t forget to take notes during the interview or directly afterwards. In can be hard to keep track of many candidates in your head once you’ve interviewed more than a few people.
One way to keep writing to a minimum, while still continuing your assessments, is to rate each candidate on the way they answer each question using a numerical scale. That way, you’ll have a frame of reference and a general sense for how each applicant fared at a brief glance.
Take time to sell candidates on the job they’re interviewing for
Depending on how detailed your job description was and where you posted your hiring notice, your candidate might not have an idea of the full scope of the job. They may not even have that much background of the company if, for example, they came through a recruitment agency and that information was withheld.
Make sure you tell them all the great perks about the role, and what makes your company great. In addition, make yourself available for questions from the candidate about the job and the company.
The hiring process doesn’t have to be as challenging as you fear it will be. With preparation and structure, your interviews can be incredibly effective in finding the candidate who fits your company – not just in skill set, but in personality as well.