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Top 10 Interviewing Tips to Hire the Best Talent

Top 10 Interviewing Tips to Hire the Best Talent
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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.

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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