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Top 10 Interviewing Tips to Hire the Best Talent

Top 10 Interviewing Tips to Hire the Best Talent

Finding great people to hire can be difficult, even when you have a lot of applicants for every job. There are ways to make the process simpler, faster and ensure you get the best talent, every time. Here are 10 great tips to follow when interviewing, making offers and on-boarding candidates.

1. Have the right interviewers

If you don’t have the right people interviewing, you can’t make the best hiring decision. The most important person in the process is the hiring manager. He or she needs to be involved each step of the way and should be one of the first interviewers. If the potential manager does not feel the candidate is qualified or will be a good fit for the team and the organization, find out early, to save time and money and protect your employer’s brand. A candidate who doesn’t meet their prospective manager until late in interviews is unable to get a clear view of what is needed in the job, and might fail to put his or her best foot forward. Other people who should interview candidates include a representative from Human Resources or the recruitment team, and potential clients.

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2. Ask for specific examples of past experience

The best way to find out how someone will handle a situation in the future is to find out how they handled it in the past. This is an interview technique called Behaviour Based Interviewing.

Make sure every candidate interviewed is asked the same questions, and that they provide the situation, the problem, the solution and outcome. It’s a simple process but very effective.

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3. Do panel interviews to get objective data and save time

Interviews are time consuming and expensive. A great option is to conduct interviews via video. If not, try to minimize the amount of trips a candidate has to make by having all the interviewers see them at once in a panel. In this approach, there are a set number of questions, and each member of the panel takes turns asking them. It’s more efficient than having the candidate meet people one after the other and repeating their story over and over. Panel interviews also ensure everyone hears the same information at the same time.

4. Ask for clarity on any red flags

Sometimes a candidate will say things or put things on their resume that need clarification. Whenever you come across something that you need more information about, either because it’s unclear or it seems at odds with what you’ve learned about the candidate so far, ask questions. A red flag is anything that makes you weary of a candidate. Instead of dismissing the flag right away, or using your instinct to decline them, find out more about the matter.

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5. Review interview notes immediately and make a decision

The benefits of doing panel interviews can’t be overestimated. Everyone in the room hears the candidate answer the same questions, although each interviewer will interpret answers a little differently. Being together, either in person or on a phone or video conference, will allow the team to review the candidate’s answers and their thoughts immediately, and to make a decision about whether to proceed with the person to next stage or not. By discussing the candidate immediately after an interview, the comments are fresh in everyone’s memories, and positives and concerns can be debated and a consensus reached.

6. Decline candidate if not hiring

If after interviewing a candidate you decide you won’t hire them, do the right thing and decline them. You may wait a day or two, so the candidate will feel they have been properly assessed, as they might not be familiar with the efficiency of panel interviews and how quickly decisions can be made. With a phone call, let them know you won’t be considering them further. Ensure someone from the panel calls the candidate and can provide some meaningful feedback on why they are not moving forward in the selection process. The typical approach is to wait until a finalist has accepted an offer before declining candidates, but only those who are seriously being considered and would be offered the job if the preferred candidate declines should be kept in play. Everyone else needs to be declined so they can move on, and you can too.

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7. Make a verbal conditional offer to your top candidate

When you have decided on the best person for the job, call them and talk through your offer. Ask if they have questions. Find out any concerns. Send them the offer if they say they will accept or want to review it. Make sure they know it’s conditional while you contact references.

8. Ask for references if they accept the offer

When a candidate accepts a conditional offer, let them know the rest of the process and how long it will take. They might be involved in other interviews and you don’t want to lose a candidate at this point. Find out who their references are and contact them right away.

9. Complete thorough reference checks

Today there are a variety of ways to conduct reference checks, including by email. Choose the right process for your organization, and move quickly. People providing references are generally doing a favour for a past colleague or employee, and you should keep the questions brief and to the point. If you need clarification on anything that comes up in a reference check, be sure you can get it. Ask for phone numbers to follow up, even in an online process.

10. Welcome the new hire

Once the candidate has accepted the job, make the process of welcoming them easy and pleasant. No one wants to arrive for a new job without the tools they need, or no one there to show them around. Send them a welcome note before they start, ideally from the manager, and then don’t communicate further with them until day one. Over-communicating with a new hire before they start can be frustrating for them and wastes time. All the paperwork and information you need can be gathered once they come on board.

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Last Updated on April 22, 2021

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

How to Work Hard the Smart Way: 4 Daily Rituals to Follow

Habits are what sets an average leader apart from a great leader. We can argue that talent is the biggest factor; we may debate how the amount of charisma sets the two apart. Yet, if you were to show me what you believed to be a great leader, I can show you the habits that made her/him great. Great leaders have great habits and know how to work hard the smart way.

Developing Great Habits Is Hard Work

In my early college days, I had spent a lot of time learning how to play the trumpet. Playing the trumpet took time and discipline. I had some natural talent, but not enough to hide my lack of ability. My trumpet teacher was a man of discipline, and there was no doubt he had talent. What stood to me was his work ethic. He had to be one of the hardest working mentors that I had the privilege of working with.

One afternoon, I was in his office getting ready for my weekly trumpet lesson. As I was preparing, my eyes scanned the room and saw that there were quotes all over his office. My eyes rested on one quote that forever changed my thinking about my playing. It was a quote from my high school basketball coach Tim Notke that would become popular through professional athletes Kevin Durant and Tim Tebow:

“Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”

Hard work trumps talent. The key to success is not found in your talent or ability. Talent and ability are necessary, but they are not the primary factors. They are supporting roles in the story you are writing.

Ultimately, hard work is the key to your success. A good work ethic creates the momentum that propels you forward towards your goals.

Motivation Is Not the Answer

How many times have you seen someone go to a conference, get inspired, and then come home and do nothing?

If motivation were the answer, the world would have transformed hundreds of times over. Yet, when we look out our doors or turn on the news, we do not see a utopian society.

We have thousands of people who become inspired but lack the work ethic to apply anything they have learned. Time and time again frustration creeps in. We are so motivated and inspired by what we see but fail to put in place the things that would change our lives.

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Frustration happens when the gap between what you expect to be true and what is true gets bigger. Motivation tends to create an expectation that is not rooted in reality. We want to take on the world but cannot get off Netflix long enough to do so.

Motivation is not the answer, but working hard is. Good habits and routines that produce success are the byproducts of a strong work ethic. The habits and routines we create and follow are the foundation on which we build a winning life.

How to Work Hard by Working Smarter

Here are 4 routines that will help you learn how to work hard and achieve your short term and long term goals.

1. Define What a Win Looks Like

In football, a player that crosses into the end zone gain points. In soccer, a player kicks the ball into the net to score. Hockey, lacrosse, and basketball are all the same. The player takes the object and moves it into the designated area to gain points. The team with the most points wins the game.

Why is it that we can define what a win looks like in sports, but we fail to do so in our leadership, our businesses, or our homes?

Learning how to work hard without setting a target is futile. It is insanity to work hard without having a clear direction to place your energy. I would argue that defining a win is one of the most important routines that a leader can have. Defining a win separates superficial activity from meaningful activity.

When I define a win, I know the goal line I have to cross[1]. Knowing where the goal line is informs me of the activity I have to engage in to cross it. Without a clear direction, I am spinning my wheels hoping that I will get to a destination I haven’t defined. It is like asking a GPS for directions but failing to input the destination.

4 Steps to Define a Win
  • Know the outcome you desire.
  • Declare the outcome in specific, meaningful terms.
  • Write the outcome down.
  • Set your activity list to only do that which will complete your goals.

Let me give you an example. 15 years ago, I started speaking professionally. As a young and naïve speaker, I thought winning meant that I had to get a reaction from the audience. If they cheered, smiled, or cried, I considered myself a winner. The problem was my lack of understanding of what a win looked like. As a seasoned speaker, my wins look different.

As of today, when I speak, I am not looking for any emotional reactions from the audience. I win if, and only if, I clearly communicated my point so that anyone hearing the talk can take it and apply it to their lives that day. That is how I define a win when I speak now.

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Create a habit of declaring a win. When you do, you will see your productivity soar and your encouragement increase. Pairing a hard work ethic with wise decisions creates victory. Stop being a mouse on a wheel that goes nowhere, and start being the captain of your fleet.

2. Evaluate Your Activity

Not all activity is equal. There are things you must do, things you need to do, and things we can either give away or delete. The greatest challenge of a leader is understanding the difference. Understanding what activity is busywork and what activity is mission work is pivotal.

Not only do we need to learn how to evaluate our activity, but we must make this a core routine in our arsenal of success. Stop working so hard on everything and start learning how to work hard on the right things.

Not every activity will move the needle forward for you. In fact, you were never meant to do everything yourself! Once we stop trying to be a martyr in our leadership, we can start looking at how to take things off our plates through delegation.

Based on the Eisenhower box, there are 4 things that we look at when deciding on which activities are important:

  • Do now
  • Plan to do it later
  • Delegate to someone else
  • Delete it

Powerful questions are the way you discover if the activity is right or not:

  • Does this activity move me towards or away from my goals?
  • Do I have to do this activity or can I give this activity away to someone else?
  • Does this activity have to be now right now or can it be scheduled for later dates?
  • Does this activity have to be done at all?

Evaluating the type of activity you engage in should be a routine that you do daily. Learning how to work hard should create progress. Having a system of evaluation and a routine to do it will help.

3. Prioritize Your Calendar

If you were to show me your calendar, I could show you why you are not further along. When you lack the routine of placing things on your calendar, two things happen.

First, what does not make it on your calendar does not get done.

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It is a simple truth that is often overlooked. Your calendar contains the power to change your life. Yet, we don’t use our calendars to their fullest potential.

“You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine.” -John C. Maxwell

Also, if you don’t mark you activities on your calendar, you are leaving it open to other’s priorities.

“The key is not to prioritize what’s on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” -Stephen Covey

Having a routine in your life where you place things on your calendar is pivotal to your success. This is not a routine one should overlook.

It’s time to take your leadership and business to the next level. It’s time to start putting your daily routines on your calendar, along with your priorities.

4. Reflect on Your Day and Plan the Next

We are all about the morning routine. Whatever that looks like for you, there should be a routine in the morning that sets you up for success.

Hard work starts when your feet hit the ground in the morning. Creating the habit of winning starts with the first thing you accomplish that morning. If you win your morning, you will win your day.

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Best Morning Routine to Prepare to Work Hard

    But how often have you heard people talk about an evening routine? Tomorrow is won the day before it happens. When you fail to plan your day, you may put your effort toward in the wrong things. Route replaces routine. Indecision replaces decisiveness. Losses replace wins. The discouragement will deflate your momentum and increases the chances of procrastination. That is why we set our schedule the night before.

    “Every battle is won or lost before it is ever fought.” -Sun Tzu

    Working hard doesn’t have to be hard work. It shouldn’t take much out of you learn how to work hard as long as you work smart. Having a time where you reflect on the day and set your priorities is the difference-maker.

    Use these questions to reflect on your day:

    • What went well?
    • What didn’t go well?
    • What can I change?
    • What do I need to start doing?
    • What do I need to stop doing?

    The Bottom Line

    Navigating through life is hard work. Yet, the work doesn’t have to be hard when you work smarter. When you create routines that support your mission, you create wins. Working hard, the smart way will tip the balance in our favor.

    Boxing legend Joe Frazier said:

    “Champions aren’t made in the ring; they are merely recognized there.”

    Champions put in the hard work behind the scenes. The world recognized them as a champion when they saw the results of the hard work. Right now, you are doing the work of creating a champion in yourself.

    That work is setting your routines in order because you now know that success flows from your daily routines. If you are not experiencing the success you desire, then it is time to change things up.

    More on Creating Healthy Routines

    Featured photo credit: Zan via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] The Balance Careers: Interview Question: “How Do You Define Success?”

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