With the holiday season fast approaching, many businesses are discovering that they need to hire extra help; but once you put the Help Wanted sign in the window and you get some people in that have filled out applications, how do you conduct a successful job interview? In order to hire the best candidate for the job, it is important to keep the interview on task while still allowing for an applicant’s personality to come through.
Even before you conduct the first interview, you should take some time to think about what the most important aspects of the position are. For example, if you need help in the stock room, then you might want to make sure that you hire someone who has had previous experience with inventory management. Make a list of the main job requirements and have it handy during the interview so that you can check off applicants that meet them.
When you have a good idea of what the job consists of, you should make a list of questions that will help you determine if the applicants fulfill the job requirements. It is suggested that you ask about 6 questions for every half an hour of interview time. It is also recommended that you ask all applicants the same questions. That way, it is easier to compare candidates based on their answers. However, when comprising your list, take into consideration that you cannot ask some things by law.
- Age or Other Physical Data: including weight, height, race, and gender.
- Family Status: including marital status and if they have or are planning to have children.
- Financial Status
- Disability: While you cannot inquire about the nature of a disability, you can ask if the applicant can complete the job both well and safely.
- Housing: including where and how they live. Instead you can ask if they are able to work the required hours and if they have reliable transportation to work.
Once you comprise your list of questions, make sure to get the answers. When the conversation progresses organically, sometimes questions can be partially answered or skipped entirely. Be flexible enough to allow the conversation to flow, while still being prepared to ask follow up questions that will help you led the conversation back to the original question. This goes back to the idea that when you ask everyone the same questions, it will be easier to pick the best match for the job by comparing their answers.
While it maybe tempting to try to get to know applicants by opening the floor to questions, you should only do so after you’ve already asked them all the questions you had prepared and after you’ve outlined the nature of the position. That way, the interview does not get sidetracked and you have time to ask everything you need to know. Waiting for the end to invite feedback also allows you to assess the applicant based on any questions they ask. Do they seem to understand the job requirements? Are they concerned with benefits or acquiring time off? Are they willing to ask about things that they do not understand? All these can be important clues to the kind of worker someone is.
The final step to conducting a good interview is to consider doing multiple rounds of interviews with more than one interviewer. That way, you’ll get insight from someone else about a person’s character and abilities.