We all have an interviewing style we prefer – sometimes it’s good, many times it can be improved. Try out these tips. I think you will like the results.
1. Select a Suitable Place for Your Interview
Location and environment are important in setting up interviews. Like a bad seat in a movie, sometimes it’s possible for hiring managers to miss a positive candidate simply because the physical surroundings are uncomfortable. Choose the location for your meeting carefully.
2. Ensure Privacy
The interview process is about you asking questions and getting honest answers from your candidate. Sometimes these are hard questions to ask and to answer. People buzzing past you and your candidate, a noisy place in the restaurant—all this destroys concentration and hardly lends itself to a good dialog. The best place for an interview is in your own office, preferably with the door shut. If you live in a cubicle, or if your office resembles a battlefield, reserve a space in the conference room or ask a colleague if you can borrow his or her office.
3. Where You Sit Does Matter
Try to avoid conducting an interview while sitting behind your desk. Even though you may be the candidate’s next boss, the authoritarian stance of this scenario is often too overwhelming and doesn’t promote good dialog.
4. Face to Face
I like to sit facing the candidate with the resume on my lap, pen in hand. Judging “body language” is important. Notice particularly whether the candidate remains at ease as difficult questions are posed. Note what gestures are used as he or she makes a point. Does the candidate maintain eye contact with you? These are important things to be best observed when sitting face-to-face with the candidate.
5. Conference Room Tips
If you use the conference room, have your candidate take a chair that is not directly opposite from you but at the corner of the table either to your right or left. This will promote more dialog as well. Make sure your room is reserved to cut down on interruptions.
6. Cancel All Phone Calls
This might sound unimportant, and many interviewers don’t pay attention to it, but taking phone calls gives the wrong message to the candidate about the importance of the interview, and, besides, it’s too distracting for you! You’ll lose your train of thought and the risk that the candidate will not come across well gets considerably higher.
7. Never Interview at Lunch the First Time Around
I don’t care if your office is between the store room and the freight elevator, or if your company is in the worst part of town, where you are located is where your new employee will be working. Always have the first interview at your offices unless there are extenuating circumstances (i.e., you are hiring for an out-of-town branch office). Besides, lunches can be distracting at a first interview — too much chewing, too much server banter, etc. For the second interview (and especially if there are highly confidential matters to discuss with your potential employee), lunches can be a fine venue.
If you keep the environment as harmonious as possible during the interview, all your energy will be directed toward the ultimate goal – hiring the best candidate.
Philip Kemper is Founder/President of Kemper Associates, a 36-year-old Chicago-based national executive search firm, specializing in Permanent and Contract staffing for Trade Shows and Exhibits, Staging and Equipment Rental, Business Meetings and Events Production, Video, Training and Incentives and more. See his full biography on LinkedIn at: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/philip-kemper/2/795/308/. Visit Kemper Associates at: www.Kemperassociates.net, and contact Phil with questions or comments, and employment needs at: Kemperassoc@hotmail.com or by phone: (312) 944-6551.