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The Do’s and Don’ts of Interviewing for Employers

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Interview

Last month, the Congressional Budget Office foretold of an aggressive employment rebound as the vaccine rollout improves and COVID cases continue to dip. Employers will face an extremely competitive hiring market. Top candidates will have several suitors.

If your organization will need to hire to expand its capacity for post-COVID operations, now is the time to start planning that hiring process. Good interview process is of paramount importance. If used to maximum effect, interviews allow employers to find a candidate that fits their organization like a puzzle piece while distinguishing themselves as a desirable workplace to the interviewees. At worst, interviews can be a box-ticking activity that create future opportunities for friction and scare away top candidates.

As you plan your next hiring process, here are some Do’s and Don’ts to help you find the right candidate and make sure that candidate wants to work for you!

DO Explore Vision and Value Alignment

Some employers fall into the trap of a low-order focus: exclusively asking the candidates about the interviewees' capability and past experience. If an employer and its new hire are not aligned on vision and values, that new hire may be capable but unmotivated. The employer will be frustrated because the hire will underperform versus their potential. The hire will be frustrated because they lack a sense of purpose in their work. In the long-term, not having these frustrations may manifest in poor communication tactics and poison organizational culture.

Luckily, exploring vision and values is easy. Ask the interviewee to prepare their three-year vision for the work they would do in their role is a simple activity-based assessment.

As an interviewer, share the values that are important to you. DO make this alignment assessment conversational. You will discover common vision and values through building a relationship with your candidates. Asking scripted questions and then robotically waiting for their response will not build that relationship.

DON’T Ask Your Question and then Immediately Mute Your Microphone

While this next big hiring wave will be for expanding capacity for post-COVID operations, proactive organizations will start their hiring process while still restricted by COVID. That means Zoom will likely be a key feature in that process.

You will get your best impression of candidates by building a relationship and rapport. The robotic process of, ‘I ask a question. Mute my mic. You unmute. You answer. You mute. Repeat,’ is not conducive to a rapport. Remember when conducting an interview over Zoom that there needs to be back-and-forth between your search committee and the candidates just like if you were in a room together. Practice Zoom interviews before you start bringing in candidates. Create etiquette that allows you to carry out a healthy conversation without stepping on one another.

Not only will this work enable you to better assess who is the best fit for your organization. It will also make your organization a more desirable workplace for that top candidate because you will make a better first impression. And they will feel more connected to your organization because of the relationships they started building in the interview process.

DO Give Your Candidates Questions before the Interview

Sending out questions before the interview gives you an activity assessment for your candidates. Rather than having the candidate tell you how they ‘feel it’s important to always be prepared,’ give them an opportunity to prove it. Additionally, you should be able to have more productive and meaningful conversations because your interviewees should be better prepared.

By taking this step, you also demonstrate your organization’s commitment to good, early communication. Jobs where the employer communicates expectations early and clearly are less stressful and more rewarding. This simple tactic will make your organization more desirable to that top candidate.

Some employers value the opportunity to assess whether candidates can think on their feet in the interview process. You can still measure this when you send out interview questions ahead of time. Just be prepared to ask good follow up questions!

DON’T Try to Create a Power Imbalance

Some employers use an interview tactic where they try to create a power imbalance. Asking questions like: We’ve had SO many applicants. Why are you worth our time and consideration?

This makes the candidates think: If they don’t want to acknowledge my potential value, I don’t want to work for them. Or, Well if they think I’m such a lowly candidate, why are they wasting time interviewing me. That’s just bad process. I don’t want to work for someone with bad process.

Power moves in interviews will be perceived as disrespectful and discourage top candidates from accepting offers.

DO Prepare to Talk about Why Your Company is a Good Place to Work

The interview process is as much about you selling your company to the candidate as it is about them selling their abilities and talents to you. Before interviews start, have your search committee brainstorm what candidates for this position might be seeking from their employer. Wellness benefits? Flexibility? Professional development opportunities? Prepare as a group to speak to how your company fills these needs of the candidate.

DON’T Be Afraid to Ask for Outside Help

Practice your interview process with colleagues in your own organization or with consultants. L M Thomas Group would be happy to help you assess and refine your interview process. If you think your organization could do a better job interviewing, please schedule a Free, Thirty-Minute Consultation!

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Joseph Rasmus

Joseph Rasmus is a Project Consultant with the L M Thomas Group.

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