Interviewing like a pro

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!

1) Planning:

  • Schedule: Plan 90 minutes per candidate. Take a break after every two candidates.
  • Brief the candidates: Give them directions to your office and a phone number to call when lost (not your own as you’ll be in interviews!).
  • 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.

2) Prepare the interview flowEdge-Perfomance-website-pictures-36 crop

  • 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
    • 10 minutes on specific clarifications with the candidate
    • at least 10 minutes answering questions of the candidate and getting into a conversation with them
    • 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
    • motivation for the role and your organization
    • past experience and its relevance to the job at handEdge Perfomance website pictures-33 crop
    • potential to learn and grow
    • Use open-ended questions, that touch on past results and behaviours.
  • Tips:
    • Avoid “what would you do” questions, as they favour creative personalities and don’t give you any evidence of ability to actually DO.
    • Plan for these questions to cover around 45 minutes.Typically candidates take 2-5 minutes answering a well-crafted open-ended question
    • Use this questionnaire across all candidates for comparability.
  • Go through the edge shortlist report and note down any specific questions you may have on individual candidates.
  • We suggest not more than three interviewers per interview, as the conversation will become less meaningful. If you have many people involved in the final decision, it is better to schedule separate interviews and rotate through the candidates.

3) 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 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 company you want to hire people with a leadership mindset. Be genuine with them around wanting a conversation and hear their thoughts and ideas.

All the best!