Week 3 Task 2

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Prepare for the interview

From Administrative Human Resources

– You already know that the interview is a crucial part
of the hiring process, so preparing
for that very important step is even more important.
Lack of preparation can lead to a bad hire,
and bad hires cost the organization in time and money.
One mistake many small businesses fall into
is desperation for a warm body.
The receptionist quit, the phones are ringing,
and there’s no one to answer them.
Let’s just get somebody in here.
Step away from those feelings.
If, after you interview potential candidates,
no one person stands out as the best match,
then you should continue to recruit
and interview candidates, until the best match is located.

It’s just not worth it to have a warm body
who will soon quit or be fired.
Understandably, your staff may be frustrated
with your decision to hold off,
but remind them that training and onboarding
is time-consuming, so it’s better to only do it once
for the right person.
So, take the time to understand the job
and what a successful candidate needs,
and then, you are ready to write your interview questions.
In addition to the standard questions
you can easily locate online, you should also
include about five behavior-based interview questions.
The question, how do you handle stress,
is hypothetical and you will get a hypothetical answer.

Instead, try, tell me about a time you were
under a lot of stress at work.
What was the situation and how did you handle it?
This question requires the candidate
to offer up an example or story about a time
they actually dealt with stress.
And, of course, you will ask follow-up questions
and probe to learn as much as you can.
Work with the person who will supervise this position
you are filling.
Determine three to five absolute requirements a person needs
to be successful, and then write your questions.
Remember, they start with, “Tell me about a time…”
Something else to figure out is the critical success factor.

This is the one trade or skill a person
absolutely must have or the consequences for your company
would be enormous.
One of my clients had some file clerks whose job was
to literally spend all day filing paperwork
into client files.
But client paperwork started to go missing.
Clients were becoming angry that we’d lost their documents.
This was not good.
A few weeks after the mystery began,
an employee opened a client’s file
and found a giant heap of other client’s papers.
In an effort to shorten the stack,
one of the file clerks was simply
putting handfuls of paperwork into random client folders.

It was then that we realized the critical success factor
for the file clerk was not the ability to file papers,
it was patience.
Without patience, customer service failed
and we could lose clients.
And now, we could ask about patience in interviews.
Even better, we could ask about the critical success factor,
patience, in this case, via a behavior-based
interview question during the pre-screening phone interview.
And we could quickly eliminate people
who didn’t have this trait.
Use the phone interviews strategically.

Ask a few questions about their resume,
find out how much they made at their last job,
their salary requirements, and why they applied.
Also, pay attention to things other than their answers.
If you called them on their cell phone
and caught them off guard, do they ask
for a few moments to sit down
and get out a pen and paper?
Or do they try to wing it?
Are they giving you their full attention,
or are they distracted?
If you get their voicemail, is it professional?
As you’re preparing to interview your candidates in person,
decide the best format and be clear on your reasons
for using that format.

If you’re trying to hire several people
for several open positions,
perhaps a group interview is best.
You might also use a panel interview
if you need to hire quickly and would like to avoid
having that person come back for second interviews
with someone else.
The key to successful panel interviews,
or several interviewers interviewing one candidate,
is that you get together before the interview
to agree on who will ask which questions,
and who will take the lead.
You might also decide observing employees
doing the work might be a part of your interview process,
or going out into the field with your best salesperson,
for example, might be useful.

You could also ask your receptionist
to strike up a conversation with candidates
while they wait for you to call them in,
and then, you could get some insight
on to how they acted when their guard was down.
In the end, interviews are strategic events
that include preparation, discussion,
and a well-thought-out plan.
Finding the right person can really make a big difference
in the success of your company.


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