Interview Tips for Hiring Managers, by Jennifer Winding

  • Often, fewer interview questions are better.   Fewer questions can give you the opportunity to learn more about the candidate. They may bring up something interesting you would like to know more about, and this can lead to an insightful conversation. It is often down these “paths” that we gain the most insight into the candidate. Ask “Tell me more about that” after they give you a response to an initial question.  Don’t feel like you must stick to the script!  Follow up questions are valuable.
  • Think about the main themes you are interested in discussing with the candidate. These are outlined on the Scoring Tool for you to add notes under each of the skills and characteristics deemed necessary to success in the role. In this role, they are HR Acumen (both protocol/regulations and interpersonal skills), IT skills and knowledge, Familiarity with Accounting Practices, and a general Culture Fit. Make sure your interview covers all the main topics you need to explore.
  • Taking short notes will be better than long notes, as it will allow you to listen better and maintain eye contact with the clients.  Listening and eye contact are more important than notes.
  • A group interview is unnatural. People are nervous. It is a good idea to take the first few minutes to talk about the Badgers, the weather, events around town - whatever, to make them more comfortable.
  • In today’s business marketplace, good candidates are interviewing you as much as you are interviewing them. How you behave and the connection you are able to establish with them affects the offer acceptance ratio.
  • The more comfortable a candidate is with you in an interview, the more you will learn about them, both the positive AND the negative.
  • It is nice to have a bottle or glass of water for them in the interview room, even if they have not asked for it.  People get nervous and need a sip of water either to quench a dry mouth, or to give them a second to think about a response.
  • Sometimes, the candidate is very concise in their responses and you may run to the end of your questions before the hour has passed. This is OK if you do not feel they are a fit, but if you DO want to know more, have some optional questions.
  • Always leave time at the end for them to ask questions of you. This is often your “selling time”.  Show your excitement for the organization.

Jennifer Winding is an Executive Search Director with QTI Executive & Professional Search

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