How To: Interviewing Techniques to Assemble Your A-Team

How To: Interviewing Techniques to Assemble Your A-Team

Job seekers are not the only people who need to develop effective interviewing skills. Hiring managers looking to put together a team of all-stars need to possess the same skills as well as the ability to coordinate the overall hiring process, organize their team of interviewers, gather feedback and manage the communication process with candidates. If you are that hiring manager, here are some tips to help you recruit your next A-Team.

  1. Create a Strategy: Get your team of interviewers on the same page by developing a clear interview strategy. Start by outlining what each team member will focus on when interviewing candidates. This will avoid duplication of effort, provide better insights on each candidate and ensure that there is no duplication of effort or overlap. Remember, you are looking to assess candidates across a range of skills, experiences and behaviors not just ask questions about what is written in their resume. Ask one group of interviewers to focus on specific skills. A second group can focus on past behaviors and assess how successful the candidate might be in the role based on his or her answers. While a third group can hone in on general personality traits and how well those fit with the culture and core values of the larger team.
  2. Come Prepared: As hiring managers, we expect that candidates will have done some basic research on our company and walk into the interview prepared. It’s important to hold yourself and your interview team to the same standards. Before each interview, review the candidate’s resume, cover letter and any other materials he or she may have submitted. This will ensure that you do not waste the interview time going over these materials with the candidate. The interview will be much more effective if the time is spent getting to know each candidate at a deeper level, one that goes beyond what you see on paper.
  3. Make It Behavioral: Yes, job skills and work experience are important. But they will only get you so far in terms of gauging a candidate’s ability to be a successful part of your team. Behavioral-based interviews focus on uncovering the how, what and why of a candidate’s past in order to understand how effective those behaviors are likely to be within your own team and the organization at large. Start by cataloging the specific behaviors that drive success in the open position, your team and the company in general. Then develop specific questions designed to uncover the candidate’s past behaviors and assess how effective those behaviors would be in your workplace. This type of question often begins with “Tell about a time when you…”
  4. Use a Standard Metric: Ask the same questions of every candidate (follow-up questions can vary) and provide your interview team with a standardized scorecard to assess each candidate. If you are not using a consistent approach to interview and assess you will have no reliable, objective way compare and contrast the qualifications of each candidate.
  5. Set Expectations and Follow Through: Showing up for each interview prepared is how you begin a professional interview process. But that’s only part of the equation. At every stage in the process, set expectations with each candidate in terms of how you will communicate with him or her and what, if any, next steps there might be. If you are interested in a candidate, it’s a good idea to communicate that. It is unlikely that your opportunity is the only one he or she is exploring. Don’t lose a potential hire through lack of communication. By the same token, if you know you are not interested in pursuing a candidate further, it’s best to be up front about that as well. The vast majority of candidates will appreciate the honesty even if it is not what they want to hear. Finally, be sure to follow through. If you tell a candidate you will get back to them, then get back to them no matter what. Making promises to candidates and not keeping them is both unprofessional and bad business. Not only are you creating a negative impression with that candidate you are also ensuring that if they are ever asked about your company they will pass along that negative impression.
Cliff Schenkhuizen