Stop wasting time and money hiring the wrong people. It’s time to improve your interviewing skills.
Hiring is a risky business given that so much of your company’s success rides on tapping the right people for the job. Interviewing is really more art than science and, all-too-often, job candidates who look good on paper and ace the interview process completely choke once they actually get the job. Bad hires are more than an inconvenience: they’re expensive. According to research from CareerBuilder, 41 percent of companies say that a bad hire costs them at least $25,000.
How can you better your chances of making a good hire? In an article on CIO Insight, Dennis McCafferty culls interviewing tips from “The Winning Manager’s Playbook: 6 Practices Every Manager Needs to Succeed” (Career Press), by John Cioffi and Ken Willig. These tips may help you and your managers to hone your interviewing skills and improve the chances of choosing the best people for the job.
Before you begin the interview, have candidates sit near some of your employees for 10 or 15 minutes. Do they interact with their potential future coworkers, and if so, how? Their behavior can give you insight on their personalities and show how they may or may not fit with your office culture.
It often helps to gauge candidates’ powers of observation and perception. If they’ve interviewed with others in your company, ask about their impressions of those people. Are they accurate?
Ideally, an interview should be a two-way exploration so that both parties can determine whether the candidate is a good fit for the job and the company. Look for candidates who ask questions about you to find common interests or shared values.
Remember, you can glean a lot of important insight into how someone thinks and relates to others by asking questions that don’t directly relate to the job at hand. For example, ask candidates what they do for fun. This can help you understand whether they look for creative or competitive activities. Have they ever won a contest? Again, it doesn’t have to be work-related; ask them what it was and how they earned it.
Your interview shouldn’t consist of simply checking off a list of job requirements. You want to see the person behind the resume. Which candidates think clearly? Pay attention to whether they dig deeper for details. Do they listen well and retain knowledge? Ask them to summarize information you described earlier in the interview.
Finally, ask candidates to describe their very first job and how they got it. If they got a job when they were young to earn spending money or to pay for school, it’s a sign that they developed a strong work ethic early in life.
Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of Small Business Computing. Follow Lauren on Twitter.