Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Taking an interview? Follow these tips.

The interview process is a strategic discussion to find out if both the parties are a good match. It should not be a controlled or one-sided questioning session; because then the candidate will only be saying what you want to hear. In an interview, both the people across the table have their own objectives and at the end of a successful interview; both should have been achieved.

A good resource is one of the most important and key ingredient in running a business or project successfully. The reliability and stability of an individual is very important to be judged during an interview, because after the hiring process takes place, it is a very tedious affair to train and stabilize an unreliable candidate.

The focus of an interview is to find out whether the experience or qualifications of the person meets the job requisites, what are the strength and weaknesses of the candidate and also to identify if the candidate’s personality matches that of the organization. As an interviewer, you will need to get his true personality out and understand his/her real time abilities. 

Preparing for the interview: Most interviewers take the prospect of interviewing a candidate as a very light and tedious affair and don’t bother to do much home-work before going to the interview room. After all, it is the candidate who is looking for the job. This kind of high-handed attitude is either going to give you a completely unsuitable resource or your poor judgment might make you lose a good prospect. Just like a candidate does, even the interviewer needs to do a bit of preparation before going to meet the candidate. Here are some of the things you can do for the preparation:

  • Read the candidate’s CV once to understand his experience and qualification. This gives you a leverage to get to know the person better.
  • Prepare the questions that you are going to ask because making a standard list saves a lot of time and also gives you time to check on the person’s manner and body language.

At the start: 

The start of an interview should always begin with a little ice-breaker to make the candidate comfortable. Commenting about the traffic, weather, or any mundane topics helps the other person to take a relaxing breath. The trick is not to start as soon as you sit down on your chair. Take some time to let the candidate know about the organization and about your experience in the company as well. Give the person some time to ask any questions before laying down the expectations of the job interview. It is very important to lay down the expectations first because any non-negotiable circumstances which arise after the interview would have made a complete waste of the whole discussion.

During the interview: 

Every interviewer has their own set of questions and the order in which they ask them. The bottom line is that you should be able to find out about the candidate’s suitability at the end.

The questions should cover the qualifications and experience of the candidate and the reason of leaving the previous organization. Usually candidates give a standard parroted answer for the reason; the trick is to draw out any anomalies in the answer to understand his/her stability.

Competency related and technical questions are usually asked in separate rounds but if you are asking them in the same discussion, it is better to ask the candidate to illustrate in order to glean his technical knowledge.

Soft skills questions are also important if you have specific requirements for your project. Based on what your team requires, soft skills knowledge can either be judged during the discussion or asked directly.

You should also ask about any kind of achievements or awards the person has received; to better understand his strengths.

Personality related questions are a very important part of the discussion to understand the person’s potential chemistry with the team and organization because you don’t want to handle people issues which might come up later.

It is very important for an interviewer to look for contrary evidence or any anomalies in what the resume and the person says. Also complete attention should be paid to the answers as there might be some slips which you would otherwise miss.

It doesn't have to be a policing interview but it is not very difficult for candidates to con their interviewers, especially if they are experienced in it. Practically all the book shops are strewn with self-help books; which talk about how to portray oneself during the interview and what answers to give. This kind of parroted answers hardly gives any idea to the real person within and his/her reaction to real-time scenarios, hence it is very important to draw out the person from their comfort zones. In order to avoid such a situation role-plays are the best strategy to identify the person’s abilities.

There are a number of other ways which an interviewer can use to draw out the person but whichever method you use, it should not be against the policy of your organization. Also many times we usually ignore the small things which make a big difference during an interview. 

Some do and don’ts that you need to keep in mind while interviewing are:

  • Do not make the candidate wait unless it is an emergency situation for you. It might look fashionable to you to arrive late, but is only going to make you look incapable of time management. Make sure that you re-schedule all your meetings before fixing the interview time.
  • Do not appear to be hurried during the discussion. It looks very unprofessional to sit on the edge of the seat, ready to run away. Besides, the candidate will think that the interview is not important enough for you. Make the necessary arrangements to give you enough time for the interview.
  • Don’t attend to other calls during the discussion. It creates a lot of distraction for the candidate as well as for you, again lessening the importance of the session.

No matter whether the interview has been successful or not, at the end it should have been an enriching experience for both the interviewer and the interviewee. 

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