Why, you ask?
Once you get through the normal recruiter conversations, as a candidate, you are now speaking with peers and managers who actually work within the business. These people rarely conduct interviews. Think of your own experiences as a hiring manager and reflect on the small number of interviews that you conduct each year. Most of us do not hire that many people a year, so the interview, for most interviewers, is a disruptive conversation that we are never really completely comfortable participating in.
As a candidate, you may have been in your current or last position for many years and without question, the interview is certainly a disruptive experience!
Let’s take a minute, and explore how both participants can make this “interview” into a productive conversation, that both parties look back on as a worthwhile experience, regardless of the final result.
As an employer, you want all candidates to walk away from the interview process with high regard for you, your team and the process. In retrospect, this is the only impression they have of you, and whether you offer them a position or not, you want them to be able to say positive things about their experience during the interview process. If the candidate is offered an opportunity to join your organization, this brief experience carries more weight in their decision matrix than you can ever imagine!
As a candidate, you want to make a compelling case for who you are and how you would bring real value to the organization. Regardless of whether or not you are offered an opportunity, you want all of the parties in the process to remember the positive experience they had interacting with you.
“Be human and manage the conversation,”– yes, both of you!
As an employer:
Be Prepared! Don’t review the resume with the candidate – review this information prior to the interview.
Do ask specific questions based on your resume review – job moves, detailed project examples, accomplishment questions.
Do ask a behavioral question – give a situation and ask how they would handle it or ask for an example of a difficult situation, and how they handled it.
Do ask them to describe an example of a demonstration of a strength that they possess – for example – persuasion, critiquing, etc.
Do ask them to describe a time when they learned a lesson and how they have/would implement what they learned in the future.
Do allow time for the candidate to ask you questions.
As a candidate:
Be Prepared! Read current news about the company – understand what they do – research the interviewers – know who they are.
Have a list of 4 things you want the interviewers to know about you – work them into the conversation or mention them at the end.
Have examples of at least one success and one failure ready – for the failure be prepared to espouse the lessons learned.
Allow time and silence into the space of the interview – it is okay to allow time to think before answering a question!
Maintain eye contact and answer the questions asked – do not veer off topic.
Check in with the listener to see if you have answered the question. Just blatantly ask them, “Have I answered your question?”
Prepare a list of at least 4 questions to ask the interviewer, (think these through.)
What attributes have you found in the person/people who have held this position in the past that have led to their success (or failure)?
What are the challenges ahead for this position? Critical initiatives?
If both participants manage the conversation, everyone will come away with a rave review!