You need to adopt some good interview skills if you want to succeed in hiring your dream candidate. This article shows you what to do!
This is the sixth step in our 7-step framework for hiring A-Players for your company. Building a team of these high-performing employees is imperative if you want to reduce daily micromanaging, unplug from your business, and carve the lifestyle that you crave.
Firstly, if you haven’t yet done so, start with Step #1 where I discussed the characteristics of a good employee. If you are already on the interview stage, then it’s time to dive in…
Why good interview skills are crucial in finding the right employee
The hiring process has been building up to this point. You crafted a good job posting, distributed your posting effectively, and streamlined candidate engagement. Now you can finally meet the people behind all those promising resumes.
In the past, when coaching skills for interview questions, I have always told entrepreneurs to conduct at least THREE interviews, plus one extra step.
Here are the three interviews that I recommend:
#1 – Introductory interview
This is often a telephone or video interview. This initial interview is your chance to get a first impression of those who have, so far, only performed well on paper.
It will also give you the opportunity to weed out anyone whose goals don’t align with those of your company. Or anyone who was clearly lying on their resume (it happens!).
Common interview techniques for employers conducting this initial interview should include planning ahead and politeness.
In terms of planning ahead, be sure to actually read their resume and make some notes on points to bring up. You should also know the questions you will ask in advance.
For me, a great question to ask in this interview is: “What are your career goals?”.
This can be very telling. For example, if someone says, “I want to be a lawyer,” when they are applying as an assistant at a marketing agency, it’s probably not going to work out in the long run.
When it comes to politeness, remember that first impressions go both ways. Make a good impression and be polite. Treat each candidate as if they are your new A-Player.
Finally for this interview, always give your candidate the opportunity to ask you some questions.
#2 – Deep dive interview
When you have filtered out some of the less suitable candidates, you can move onto the second interview. The purpose of this second interview is to allow you to refine your shortlist by comparing candidates.
The second interview will usually be conducted face-to-face. However, if the candidate lives far away, this interview may be done via video calling on a platform such as Zoom.
In this interview, I recommend digging deep into their past jobs one by one, in chronological order.
Ask them about their working relationship with their former bosses and how their former boss would rate them on a scale from 1 to 10 based on their performance.
You want candidates who speak well of their former employers (unless they were actually terrible!). You also want them to be confident in saying their employers would rate them 8 to 10.
Do inform them that you will be speaking with every one of their former employers (see below). This will ensure that they give you honest answers.
#3 – Analysis interview
With your shortlist down to a handful of the top candidates, this third interview gives you the opportunity to test your candidate on the specifics of their job in the company.
For example, if your executive assistant is going to be focused on scheduling and calendar management, you can ask them in-depth questions about how they have succeeded and failed at this previously. Ask them about problems they encountered, and how they tackled them.
Another useful question I ask is, ‘Imagine a scenario where [PROBLEM]. How would you approach this situation?’
When the serious questions are complete, it’s time to get to know the person a bit better. Ask them about their life, their family, and their passions. Make a note because you may need to use this information at a later stage.
After this third interview, you should have a pretty good idea of who you will be hiring, although there is one final step…
#4 – Reference checks
Following your trio of interviews, the final stage is to check the references for your potential hires.
Ultimately, the candidate may have shown good interview skills, but they may have failed to tell you about certain bad habits – or that time they caused a company to lose a major deal due to negligence.
Their former employer, on the other hand, will never forget this!
When conducting reference checks, NEVER let the candidate tell you who to call. Your job is to call every single one of their previous employers to verify what they are saying is the truth. Skipping this step can be absolutely disastrous.
If four stages feel unnecessary, consider the cost of hiring the wrong person. Having the wrong person can not only impact the morale and productivity of the team, but it can set you back financially. It’s just not worth it.
Developing good interview skills is a habit!
If you fear the interview process, you are not alone. Many of the entrepreneurs I have coached tell me that interviewing is as nerve-wracking for them as it is for the candidates.
Just remember to be prepared, polite, positive, and professional. Stick to a structure and take your time. Remember that interviewing is a habit and it takes repetition to truly master.
Next, it’s time for the final step in our hiring framework – sealing the deal through the interview follow up.
Remember, if you want to go deeper into anything I have discussed, just get in touch! You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.