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Are You an All-Star Recruiter? 9 Tips to Help You Conduct a Successful Interview

Author

Diane Faulkner, ACC, SPHR

More by Diane
Author

Diane Faulkner, ACC, SPHR

More by Diane

Congratulations! Your business has grown. It's grown so much, you need help. To make deadlines. To meet orders. To just get through the day without losing more hair.

When it's time to look for a new member of your team, help make sure you're set up for recruiting success with these essential tips for conducting interviews.

Summer School: Interview Tips

1. Know the Job

To know how to interview you have to know what job you're selling. What kind of position do you want to create? What are the essential and nonessential duties? What kinds of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs), education and experience are absolutely necessary? Are certifications needed or helpful? What about physical requirements (for example, moving objects)? Determine this, then write up a position description. Add it to — or start — a database to maintain your position descriptions.

2. Know Your Company Culture

Even a one-person shop has a culture. Define it. Describe it. Explain why and how it represents your brand. Then, add it to your employee handbook. For example, "E-Z Credit Union values its informal and approachable, yet professional, working environment. Our culture reflects the community focus of the credit union movement, which is reflected in our brand."

3. Create Tactical Questions

The best interview questions elicit responses that show how well your interviewee would fit into your culture, handle tricky situations and apply logic, as well as delve into educational and work experience.

A question such as, "How do you feel about working on teams?" can help you gauge how well the candidate would fit into your company's culture if, say, teamwork and collaboration are important company values. The way a candidate answers this question can also help give you insight into how they apply logic.

Ensure your questions are job-related, and make sure they have nothing to do with age or another protected characteristic. This is not a best practice, and if you use the protected information obtained as a basis for your decision not to hire that candidate, you could be in violation of federal, state and local equal employment opportunity laws. This can also apply to your job advertisements. For example, if you state that you are looking for "recent college graduates," you could be viewed as excluding older workers, especially those protected under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

4. Make Your Choices

When looking through resumes, look at the main content, not the headers. This means you ignore names, which can reveal protected characteristics, (for example, gender or race), and certain dates (for example, birthdates and graduation dates), which can reveal age.

To do this, make copies and white out protected information so all you're left with is a numbered stack of resumes.

5. DO NOT Search for the Candidate Online (At Least Not Yet)

No one wants to hire someone who may turn out to be disruptive in the workplace. That's why employers take to the internet or social media to research candidates before interviews.

If you are an employer and subject to any federal, state or local EEO rules, you could be at risk if you turn to the internet too soon. Social media profiles and pictures may reveal protected characteristics such as gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or even disabilities. If you become aware of a protected characteristic online and decide not to hire that candidate, they may have a basis to argue that the decision was because of their protected characteristic. Before you interview a candidate, review only the information they have provided as part of their application.

And, if you decide to use social media to research the candidate following the interview, make sure you are doing so consistently for all candidates and consider having someone other than the hiring manager conduct the research.

6. Schedule Appropriately

Be flexible when scheduling interviews. Job candidates often have to fit in interviews around their existing work schedules. Help them by being willing to schedule interviews early, during lunch or after hours.

7. Add a Step

Save yourself time and phone screen promising candidates. A phone interview can help answer basic questions and help you get a feel for a person's experience and interpersonal skills before you bring them in for an extended, in-depth interview.

8. Be a Good Host

When you have the person in front of you, make them comfortable. Offer a coffee or a glass of water. People may be more likely to loosen up when they have something to do with their hands, which can help the interview become a conversation, rather than an interrogation.

9. Consider Everything

Knowing how to interview is just one part of the hiring process. Weigh your options, make your choice and voila! You have your top candidate.

Successful interviews require preparation. Know what you need and what you're trying to sell the candidate. Create questions grounded in that knowledge. Advertise. Choose. Interview, and choose again. And most of all, be careful to follow all applicable laws regarding recruiting, hiring and onboarding employees.

Thanks for attending Small Business Summer School today. Come back next Wednesday to learn how cash flow forecasting can help set your business up for long-term success. See you then!