Dear David: 

I am getting so frustrated with the number of interviews I have to conduct before I can fill just one position.  It seems like I am wasting countless hours on people are not even qualified to do the job.  Even worse, when I find someone that can do the job they constantly decline the offer.  Can you help?

 

Dear Bad Interviewer,

One thing to keep in mind is that 29% of candidates refuse a job offer because of how poorly the interview went.  In order to avoid that train wreck, let’s create a protocol for your interviews so you have a set way to determine the best hire for your business and stop turning good people away or wasting your and their time.

There are so many behavioral strategies and testing mechanisms that will help you properly screen your candidates but what I suggest below is solely the framework on which you should build your interview process. 

  1. Create an interview agenda

Build an outline for the entire interview.  Which by the way, should not take more than 45 minutes.  Sketch out the framework, with a set length of time for each section, covering information about the company, the job scope, position requirements, compensation, time to find out about the candidate through probing questions, and leave a few minutes at the end for question and answer. 

  1. Zero in on the candidate

Before asking the first interview question, review the job description, especially the hiring criteria, as well as everything the candidate has submitted: resume, cover letter, online profile and any other pertinent materials. This preparation is a significant part of the interview process because it allows you to hone in on what you’re looking for in the job candidates you’ll be speaking with. It should give you …

  • Firsthand information about the candidate’s background, work experience and skill level. It’s your chance to clarify what you learned from the resume, profile or previous interviews;
  • A general sense of the candidate’s overall intelligence, aptitude, enthusiasm and attitudes, and whether he or she fits the job;
  • Evaluation of the candidate’s motivation to tackle job responsibilities, desire to join the company and ability to integrate into the current work team
  1. Decide what to ask

Prior to the actual interview, write down questions you intend to ask, based on key areas of the candidate’s background. While it’s a good idea to have a core list of questions that you ask every candidate, it’s also helpful to jot down some targeted questions as you review the candidate’s job description and resume about areas in which you wish to gain clarification. Stay focused: Keep your list of questions in front of you during the interview.

  • Here is an example of a good open-ended probing question:
    • What do you consider to be the biggest accomplishments of your life and your career?
      • Why so?

Try these questions in your next interview; you will be surprised at how much you learn.  You can also mix up the types of questions you ask, but ask more open-ended questions since they require more thought on the part of the interviewee than closed-ended questions and will help the candidate open up. Ask hypothetical questions — two or three at the most — that are framed in the context of an actual job situation. Feel free to ask an off-the-wall question to see how the candidate thinks on his feet.

Make every question count. Pay attention to the candidate’s answers; don’t rehearse your next question in your mind. Although you have your questions written down, don’t hesitate to veer from those if you want to reword or follow up on something, or to eliminate questions that were covered in a candidate’s response to another question

  1. Hire the best candidate

After you’ve given the candidate a chance to ask questions, close the interview by thanking him for his time, and tell him when to expect to hear from you.

As soon as the candidate leaves from the interview, collect your thoughts and write down your impressions and a summary of your notes. Collect feedback from other interviewers while the interview is fresh in everyone’s mind. 

Great candidates are very hard to find, in fact, current data reveals that there are 3x as many job posters as job seekers in the market at any given time.  Further proving that having solid interviewing techniques is extremely important. Always focus on your business needs during your interview process, and you’ll find the best new hire time after time.  Don’t get too enamored with one trait, don’t compromise on required credentials, and always stay focused.

 

If you adopt these strategies your chance of missing out on your next incredible employee is greatly reduced.  Best of all you can spend more time increasing sales in your company instead of conducting an excessive amount of interviews.