The Interview (II)

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Preparing for an upcoming interview can seem like a daunting task that takes a lot of preparation. An effective interview can help find a qualified candidate quickly while weeding out the applicants that are not. When an interview is done smoothly and effectively, hiring managers can spend less time looking for candidates and will fill the position right the first time.

Tell Me About My Company

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When an applicant comes in for an interview, the interviewer has a bit of background about them and already has a head start on the conversation. So the applicant should return the favor and know a good amount of information the company they are coming to interview for. Some common questions to ask including asking them what they already know about the position and what does the company do or make. Take notice of what they do know and make notes of what they don’t. Is it simple information that can be found anywhere or was there some research to find this information? If they don’t know much about the position or the company, or say they don’t know anything at all, note this as a red flag. Did they not do their research before coming in? Were they too lazy to go the extra mile? For whatever reason, the candidate should always come prepared to an interview, and not doing so does not show good work ethic.


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When you are conducting an interview, you want your full attention on the candidate and the questions at hand. So before the candidate arrives, check over the interview area and look for anything that could distract you or the applicant. If it will be in your office, ensure that the office phone is off and important papers are not lying around in the open. If the interview will be in an open area, such as the actual department or in a conference area, check over the area and look for any distractions and make sure the flow of outside workers is kept to a minimum. Most importantly, ensure that all cell phones are turned off. It is almost always guaranteed that cell phones will be present. They are one of the biggest distractions that can occur during an interview. Double check your cell phone before entering the interview. If you hear the applicant’s phone go off, consider it a deal breaker since it is a sign they do not have enough respect to turn it off before coming in.

Interview More Than Once

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It’s common knowledge that two looks at something are better than one. In this case, holding a second interview is better than having just one. When reviewing candidates to bring in for an interview, think of which questions you would ask in the first interview and which ones you would save for a second interview. The first interview is great for getting a first impression of the applicant and gaining some introductory information. But a second interview is a chance to expand on the information obtained from the first interview and bring the applicant further into the position. The second interview is typically the place to discuss topics such as salary and job duties because the applicant is being highly considered for the position. 

Topics typically covered in a second interview:

  • Proper dress code
  • Pay or salary range
  • Specific job assignments

Wrap Up

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As the interview comes to an end, ensure that things are professionally wrapped up before parting ways. Before the applicant leaves, ask them if they have any questions for you and if there was anything that was not covered in the interview. Be truthful with them about what they can expect next, such as a follow up letter or a phone call. Do not give a specific time of when you will contact them, just in case something comes up, and do not set their expectations too high. Offer them non-specific time range you will try to contact them, such as a set number of days. Let them know the preferred method you will use, such as phone or email, and verify the information you have for them is correct. Give them a business card with your contact information and shake their hand before letting them go.

Case Study

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Sandy was following up with a candidate she interviewed over the phone for a sales clerk opening. Josh seemed like a good candidate and Sandy wanted to hold another interview with him. Before he arrived, Sandy decided to clear her office of any distractions and paperwork, as well as turning off her cell phone. When Josh arrived, Sandy asked him several questions about his resume and some of the past companies he worked for. She wanted to know if he had done his research before coming in, so she asked him what he knew about her company. He surprisingly had a wide range of knowledge about her company, including when it was founded, what they do, and how they are planning to expand in the future. Before wrapping up, Sandy asked Josh if he had any questions for her or if she had missed anything. By the time Josh left, Sandy felt good about her selection and made notes to move him further through the hiring process.