So you’ve received your shortlist of candidates from edge and are now getting ready to screen them and get to know them.
Below we have compiled a few thoughts on how to hold successful interviews, especially for less-experienced or first-time hiring managers!
- As you schedule: Plan 90 minutes per candidate. Take a break after every two candidates to avoid getting tired which is likely to increase your bias.
- Brief the candidates well: Give them directions to your office and a phone number to call when lost (not your own as you’ll be in interviews!). At least 72 hours notice allows them to prepare.
- Use this opportunity to build a relationship already: Appreciate their efforts so far in the process and their motivation to work with you. Tell them how excited you are to finally meet and get to know them.
- 90 minutes seems a lot? Not if you spend:
- 10 minutes building rapport, offering water/tea and showing the candidate around the office
- 45 minutes on your questions (same questions for all candidates!)
- 10 minutes on any candidate-specific clarifications
- at least 10 minutes answering the candidate’s questions and getting into a conversation with them (doesn’t have to be at the end)
- Spend 15 minutes to finalize your notes and assessment after the candidate leaves.
- Come up with a questionnaire that helps you understand the candidate’s
- Tips when crafting questions:
- Use open-ended questions.
- Avoid “what would you do” scenario questions, as they favour creative personalities and also don’t give you any evidence of ability to actually DO. Ask about relevant past experiences relating to the relevant scenario instead and dig into their behaviours, thought process and decision making when they went through the situation (this is called behaviour-based interviewing).
- Plan for these questions to cover around 45 minutes.Typically candidates take 3-5 minutes answering a well-crafted open-ended question, so more than 9 questions is a no-go.
- Use this questionnaire across all candidates for comparability.
- We suggest not more than two interviewers per interview, as the conversation will become less meaningful (and more stressful for the candidate, which often reduces the quality of answers). If you have many people involved in the final hiring decision, it is better to schedule separate interviews and rotate through the candidates.
3) Think through the Candidate Experience:
- Remember: Top talent has options!
- The candidate is screening you as their new boss just as much as you are a screening them!
- Body language, eye contact, facial expressions matter. Most candidates are nervous already, so DO NOT make it worse by showing negative reactions. At the same time don’t fake any positive responses either. If you are simply observant and neutral, you allow the candidate to open up and be themselves.
- Focus your energy on getting into a conversation, avoid question and answer game, where each answer of the candidate lasts less than 15 seconds.
- The interviewee should speak 90% of the time. Often we hear that “the hiring manager was talking most of the time and I wasn’t able to explain my experience or thoughts on the industry. It was like they were selling their business! I’m not sure I’d like to work with such a manager”.
- Be honest with the candidates on when you will come back to them. Most candidates are very anxious to hear from you AND are gauging your reliability and time management in the process.
- Some candidates may find it challenging to ask you questions. In fact, many have been made to believe that if they ask questions about your business, your model, your team, etc. they will NOT get the job. Yet you know that for your small and growing mission-led organization you want to hire people with a leadership mindset. Be genuine with them around wanting a conversation and hear their thoughts and ideas.
- Use the candidate’s questions to get into a conversation. Why did this question matter to them? How are they thinking about your answer? What would they want to see in relation to this topic?
All the best!