Conducting job interviews for your company doesn’t have to induce dread. These tips will help you master the art of interviewing — and build a superstar team.
Picture this: A job opens up at your company, and you’re asked to run the interviews. How do you feel?
Do you jump all over it like an excited kid on his new trampoline? Or do you decide that now’s the perfect time to get that root canal you’ve been putting off?
Almost all interviewers dread looking like an idiot. What if you ask dumb questions? What if you get flustered and babble something stupid?
Maybe you’ll end up hiring someone so awful your boss will wonder if you’ve lost your mind. Then fire you.
Here’s how to lose the dread and conduct your interviews like a master. (Click here to tweet this list.)
1. Adopt a gracious, warm and welcoming attitude
You’d think this is a no-brainer. But most managers are about as genuine as a cardboard cutout when they interview.
Remind yourself that you’re fortunate to have time with a potential superstar. You wouldn’t have chosen them for an interview if they weren’t, right?
2. Be direct and heartfelt
But don’t be a pushover. Ask tough but fair questions.
Listen carefully for opportunities to ask questions that begin with how and what rather than why. Questions beginning with why put people on the defensive faster than an NFL linebacker and make it nearly impossible to assess how fit they are for the job.
Imagine asking someone “How did you decide to take that approach?” Now imagine asking them “Why did you do that?”
Notice the difference?
3. Say “Tell me more” to uncover the details
It’s a simple phrase that’s practically magical in its power to get others to relax and open up.
If you’re in a situation where people give a two-word answer, use this phrase to prompt them for more.
4. Toss the standard HR questions
They’re only useful if you’re interviewing one of the zombies from The Walking Dead.
Instead of asking “Where do you see yourself in five years?” or “What’s your greatest weakness?” be willing to go off script. Follow up on anything that catches your attention as long as you stay within legal boundaries.
5. Give the person time to relax
Cut job seekers slack for the first 15 to 20 minutes of the interview. Doing so gives them time to settle down, get engaged and move past their nervousness.
You can tell when they settle. Watch for their shoulders to relax, their expression to soften and their speech to slow down and get more deliberate.
6. Don’t interrogate them; engage them
Standard advice to interviewees is to understand and engage the hiring manager.
Take it a step further. Engage them. When you do, you’ll get a more holistic perception of the person sitting across from you. And you’ll provide them an honest glimpse of what working for you would be like.
7. Hire for attitude; train for smarts
Favor people with a positive attitude, inquiring nature and the tenacity of a pit bull, even if they’re less qualified than others with all the right credentials but the enthusiasm of a dead fish.
You’ll save yourself a tremendous amount of time, effort and frustration. Hard skills are easy to teach compared to trying to transplant the right attitude into someone.
When you take these steps, the interview goes from ordinary to outstanding.
How you win by mastering the art of interviewing
Your confidence will soar. Your next job vacancy will be an exciting opportunity instead of something less appealing than dental surgery. And you’ll be far more likely to get the right person for the job.
Over time, you’ll build a stellar reputation for building a kick-butt team. Word will get around. And you might even become known as a leader talented people beg to work for.
So get going!
Your future superstars are waiting for you.
Lynn Hauka teaches busy managers how to reclaim their personal life while still getting excellent business results. Sign up at The Balanced Boss to find out how.