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Hiring is the most important – and expensive – decision a manager makes. The cost of a bad hire can be devastating, demoralizing and damaging to your bottom line. The best way to ensure a world-class hiring process is to build a world-class recruiting team. By ensuring that every player has the skills and confidence to do their job well, you solidify the long-term success of your hiring efforts.

You may think smart managers can just “figure it out” when it comes to conducting candidate interviews. But even the brightest can benefit from mastering best practices and additional techniques.

Think on Two Levels

In order to optimize your hiring team and strategy, think on two levels:

  • Micro-level: Do your managers know how to interview objectively, legally and professionally, as opposed to trusting their “gut” or how they amorphously “felt” about a candidate?
  • Macro-level: Does your organization have a consistent process for assessing, attracting, interviewing and retaining top talent? Your strategy doesn’t have to be complex, but it does have to be clear – and it has to be followed with unfailing consistency.

Steps to Success

Your managers may think their interview skills are fine, but this may not always be the case. Train them thoroughly so they are readily able to evaluate both a candidate’s skill set and cultural fit. This should encompass:

  • Agreement on a candidate profile. Before starting a search, ensure that every team member knows and agrees on the profile of the person who would be the best job fit. From here, you can train interviewers to hone their skills, ask the right questions and make the best selection.
  • Interview preparation. This includes analyzing resumes, settling on a set of questions that will be consistent across all candidates, and creating a productive meeting environment.
  • Use of behavioral-based questions. These questions are based on the premise that a candidate’s past behavior is indicative of how they will perform in the future. They demand that a candidate supply specific, compelling examples of how they achieved measurable results in facing challenges, making decisions and leading business teams.
  • Active listening. The more an interviewer talks, the less they assess or learn. The candidate should do at least 80 percent of the talking during an interview. The interviewer should ask questions, listen to the response, probe for further details, and then listen some more.
  • Legal factors that come into play when interviewing.
  • Spotting red flags. Managers should be attuned to inconsistent responses, telltale body language or other warning signs that may surface during an interview.
  • Documentation of feedback. Team members should recap every interview and put their feedback on paper. This helps them to form a clearer picture and defend their opinion of each candidate.

Teach These Tips

Additional tips to be conveyed to interviewers are:

  • Avoid hiring in your own likeness. If you do so, you will replicate your liabilities as well as your assets. Hire individuals because they have the knowledge, skills and competencies you desire, not because they remind you of yourself. Look to add diversity of thought, people and perspective to your organization.
  • Ask, don’t tell. Instead of beginning an interview by telling a candidate about the job and the company, ask them to tell you what they know about these topics. A great question is “What is your understanding of this position?” The responses will help determine whether a candidate is serious about being there and how prepared they are for the interview.

When someone does a great job interviewing a candidate, congratulate and recognize them. On the flip side, if an interviewer veers off course, provide constructive criticism. Honesty and upfront feedback to your team members are beneficial to them and to your organization.

The executive search consultants at BrainWorks can provide myriad resources for developing your interview team and enhancing your overall recruitment strategy. Read our related posts or contact us today!


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