Six Ps for Conducting a Great Interview
By: Andrew C. Jackson
In the current IT hiring market, managers should be selling as much as they are screening when interviewing candidates for their open positions. The scarcity of technical professionals, combined with the unique mindset of younger workers, has transformed the interview from that of a selection process by the employer into a mutual agreement process, in which both parties negotiate to meet their requirements.
An employee with a few years of experience may have multiple opportunities to consider and typically brings a number of individual requirements to the table. I will pontificate about what those requirements might be in a future post, but for now let’s just say that today’s workers think more holistically then past generations. A salary and benefits are just the start of a good relationship.
So here are my “6 Ps” for a great interview in today’s environment:
- Prompt: Be as reliable as you expect the candidate to be. Making someone wait for more than a few minutes sends the message that your company does not respect its employees. If you will not be able to make a scheduled interview, reschedule it or ask a coworker to cover for you until you can be there.
- Prepare: Read the candidate’s resume beforehand, and have a mix of casual ice breaker questions as well as specific questions prepared in advance. Not being prepared for an interview can send the signal that you don’t value the candidate’s time.
- Positioning: Ask the candidate what he or she is looking for. Make sure they are truly interested in the position you have available before you lay all your cards on the table. This will help you avoid any misunderstandings. If there is a good fit, have a presentation prepared to sell your candidate on the opportunity. Job descriptions must be clear and precise; you are not likely to hear the candidate say they will do whatever it takes.
- Process: Have a consistent interview process. Ask the same questions to each applicant and spend the same amount of time with each one. It is much easier to compare a slate of candidates if you put them through the same process.
- Professional. A professional interview is one that is legally compliant. Take care not to discuss the candidate’s national origin, sexual preference, marital status or children. Check with your HR or legal team to make sure your interview stays in the safe zone.
- Path Forward. Before you close the interview, define the next steps with the candidate. How should he or she follow up? When will you make your decision?
The key to a successful hire is a successful interview. By treating candidates like clients, you can begin to build a better team from the start.