Great interviewers are not born…they’re made. While the notion that some managers are better at judging talent can be true, there are some simple things that an average interviewer can do to become a better interviewer – fast! Here are three of our favorites:
1. Know The First Year Success Objectives For the Job
If you’re interviewing a candidate for a job and you haven’t taken a moment to identify the first year performance objectives for the newly hired person, then you’ve started off on the wrong foot.
How can you evaluate someone when you don’t know what they’ll be doing? And I don’t mean what “tasks” will they be doing. I mean, what will they have to “achieve” in the first 12 months.
When you start by identifying what success looks like in the role, you can reverse engineer what knowledge, skills, behaviors and experience a person would need to have in order to successfully meet or exceed the objectives assigned to them.
Taking even 5-10 minutes to meet with the interview team (or yourself) to write down the success objectives for the role and the competencies (knowledge, behaviors, skills and experience) needed to achieve those objectives will put you in a position to ask the right questions and evaluate the answers properly.
2. Ask Interview Questions Aligned with The Success Objectives
After you know what the first year success objectives are, choose some interview questions that align with the knowledge, behaviors, skills and experience required to achieve those goals. We call these “competencies”.
For example, if you’re hiring a Sales Manager and one of their first year goals is to “Hire and train a team of 5 high performing Sales Representatives within the first 6 months” — you might want to ask them questions related to three topics (competencies): hiring, onboarding and training.
Here are some sample Sales Manager interview questions:
Hiring: Can you tell me about a time when you had to build and hire a team of Sales Representatives from scratch? (What were some strategies you used?)
Onboarding: Can you tell me about a time when you had to onboard a team of new Sales Representatives? (What went well, what didn’t and what did you learn as a result?)
Training: Can you give me an example of how you train your Sales Representatives to be top performers? (What techniques do you use? What percentage of your team are truly top performers? What happened to the rest?)
3. Wait Before You Rate!
It’s really easy to form an opinion of a candidate within the first few moments of meeting them. This is called “interviewer bias”. It’s been shown by research that hiring decisions are being made as quickly as 15 to 30 seconds after meeting someone.
When you ask good job-related, performance-oriented interview questions, take proper notes – on a well-designed interview guide – and you wait until the end of the interview to rate each answer, you stand a higher chance of making a better hiring decision.
Becoming a better interviewer can be as simple as following these three tips. And I hope you noticed that these are things that you can do immediately, without needing to take a half day or full day interview training course offered by your HR department.
Simply put, interviewing job applicants is a skill and fortunately, skills can be learned!