Finding a new member of your team can be a complex process. Understanding just what sort of person will help your organization keep moving forward is a difficult proposition and there’s never any guarantee that you’ll find a perfect fit. However, you can greatly increase your chances of finding the right person, provided you use the right interview techniques.
Narrow Down the Field of Applicants
One of the biggest problems with the hiring process these days is that you can get hundreds of applications for just one job. No one can afford the necessary time to interview everyone in a large candidate pool. You need a way to filter out everyone but the top talent long before you ever talking to a single applicant.
The most effective interviewers may only talk to two or three people. They may even know the answers to most of their questions going in. Once you can get your field of choices down to just a handful of people who are capable of doing the work — a question you can answer by looking at their past work or portfolio — you’ll be able to focus your interview on the intangibles, like whether a person will really be a good fit for your team.
Focus on the Interviewee’s Long-Term Goals
For most of the people who you will work with over the years, the job you’re offering isn’t what they plan to do every day for the rest of their lives. By focusing on what long-term goals applicants want to achieve, you can find out if they’ll really be a good fit for your company. At the very least, you’ll be able to tell if they’re going to stay in the job long enough to make the effort you expend on the hiring process worth it.
You can extend this approach all the way down to hiring interns: the people you interview will be willing to talk about where they hope a job with you will take them, if you only ask. You can choose better fits for your company with this information, including employees whose long-term plans match up with your own. You can see what a person is passionate about with questions about his or her future, rather than just what work he or she has done in the past.
Be Aware of How Applicants Prepare for Interviews
Just as you prepare to interview job candidates, they get ready to meet you. They practice and polish answers, carefully pick wardrobes and even take classes to better prepare for job interviews. While they’re just trying to do their best at a job interview, all of that prep work can give you a skewed impression of a job applicant.
If you can, you want to find a way to meet the real person who you’ll be working with — not the perfectly polished version. Try getting your interviewee to relax and, if that doesn’t work, try asking something entirely unexpected (but still relevant). You may need to study up on the same materials job applicants use to prep to make sure that you understand what lengths they may go to in order to prepare for an interview with you.
Use Your Interview Skills Beyond Direct Hires
While it’s considered crucial to interview anyone you’re planning to bring on permanently, doing the same for any independent contractors can seem unnecessary. However, especially if you’re outsourcing key parts of your business, not interviewing contractors is a missed opportunity. Not only will a good interview help establish trust between you and a person you’re going to be working with, but you’ll also be able to practice your interviewing skills a little more frequently — and practice really does make perfect.