Recently I’ve had some interesting conversations about interviewing with a number of new managers. Even within large, established companies there can still be a surprising lack of structure in place when you are the hiring manager (not to mention smaller companies who may not even have an HR department). Often times it is left up to the hiring manager to ‘figure it out,’ and this can be frustrating for the first time leader.
Here are two articles I’ve sourced that may benefit you:
This sample guide from Purdue University is a good starting point for interview questions. Depending upon where you live and work, you want to ensure anything you are asking abides by local labour laws.
This HBR article provides practical suggestions on how to conduct an effective interview, from the hiring manager’s standpoint.
Lessons I’ve learned myself over the last several years hiring new employees:
1. Have clarity on the skills/behaviours you want from the outset. This goes beyond generic job descriptions and will act as a keen filter. Knowing what you really want can be the pressure test you need when you have, say, three equally skilled and capable candidates lined up.
2. Recast the net. Don’t be forced into a bad hire because the talent pool is weak. Wait and recast the net. For example, if hiring in January doesn’t pan out, wait until Feb/March when bonuses are paid and people are back on the market. As a manager, you have to withstand the pressure to hire quickly against the risk of a bad hire. Strong leaders know when to wait.
3. Focus on results. Is the interviewee dancing around the question or speaking in hypotheticals? Or is he/she clearly explaining the results/outcomes they delivered in their previous role(s)? You have to be objective. Ask them again and dig for details. Hoping that a candidate you like ‘pulls through’ isn’t your job. They have to demonstrate skills and capability themselves.
4. Pay attention to references. I once had a fellow employee display doubt about a potential new hire (the employee had a personal relationship with the candidate’s former boss). The candidate interviewed very well, and the references were always hard to pin down (ex. former boss was silent, others were working out of country, hard to locate, etc). I rolled the dice and hired them anyway and ultimately it did not work out. Trust the process.
If you have any tips to share, I’d love to hear them!