This article on interviewing tips is part of a series of helpful business articles presented by CNI Recruiting.
Candidate Screening. Prior to the initial interview candidates should be screened for job requirements, experience, past performance, job tenure and cultural fit. Effective screening can be achieved by preparing a customized application form for each job that includes questions related to your job and organization requirements.
The Job Description should include job requirements that have been demonstrated to correlate with employee success rather than requirements based on anecdotal information. Include “soft” job requirements, i.e. attitude, behavior, professionalism, courtesy, appropriate dress, enthusiasm, and energy.
Prepare a list of open ended questions, including at least one question relating to each job requirement. After candidates answer each question, ask probing, follow-up questions, in order to test the accuracy and completeness of their answers. Follow-up questions can be as simple as “why” or “tell me more”.
Prepare a score card for each candidate that includes the questions, numerical scores for answers (for example 1 – 5), and a place for the total score. All interviewers should complete score cards for all candidates. This will provide an objective method to measure and rank candidates, rather than relying on subjective assessments.
Face to face Interviews. Have two or more interviewers. One interviewer should ask questions and the other(s) should take notes. If one of the interviewers is comfortable taking notes in addition to asking questions, that is even better. Discuss candidates’ performance in all prior jobs, or at least in the last three jobs. Ask all questions in the past tense, i.e. “what did you do about”, rather than “what would you do about”? Discuss why candidates left prior jobs, relationships with supervisors, successes, challenges, and likes and dislikes. Don’t lead candidates. For example, if interviewing Sales Reps, ask how they pursue an opportunity, rather than asking which sales process they use. If you don’t agree with something that candidates say, tell them and determine their reaction. Do they moderate their statement or support it?
Conduct multiple interviews. Subsequent to each round of interviews, prepare a list of candidates who will be invited back for additional interviews.
Post interview reviews. Hold post-interview meetings during which interviewers share impressions and discuss candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. These discussions may lead to score card revisions. Record minutes of these sessions.
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