Interviewing is stressful. We’ve all been the nervous candidate at one point in our lives, but rarely do we give thought to the other side of the table. Recruiters and candidates alike spend a good chunk of time researching one another to make sure they are making the right decision. Smaller teams who may not have a more experienced recruiter may be curious as to what steps they should take to prep for each meeting. Below you’ll find a few interview tips for hiring managers (and recruiters) to help prepare for a successful interview.
Source (Jobvite 2014 Job Seeker Survey)
This may be obvious to many, but research your candidate. We live in an age where our digital footprint is bigger than we actually realize. Honestly, have you Googled yourself lately?
Jobvite’s 2014 Job Seeker Survey reported that 46% of job seekers have modified their social media privacy settings because they know recruiters are looking. But, how much do companies really care about a candidate’s digital image? What should we be looking for?
LinkedIn, the professional social network, is the most obvious place to start. Many recruiters or hiring managers will use this as a secondary resume, making sure the information a candidate submits aligns with what’s written on their profile.
What to look for:
LinkedIn is a great place to double-check your candidate’s background. Look for links to previous completed projects. If not available, a personal website is usually a good source for past work.
LinkedIn is also a great opportunity for applicants to expand upon their previous work and past accomplishments. While a resume may restrict a job title to “Project Manager,” LinkedIn encourages description and detail. Use this information to see if your candidate’s experience aligns with your job description.
The world’s largest social network is also a great place for recruiters to look up a candidate to access their life outside of the workplace. This shouldn’t be a shock to most; colleges world-wide advise their graduates to clean up their social profiles to appear more professional. Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey reports that 55% of recruiters have reconsidered a candidate based on their social profile, with 61% of those reconsiderations being negative.
I’m by no means encouraging recruiters and hiring managers to scour social media pages in search of detrimental images, but use the information presented to help form an overall decision. Does your candidate have any hobbies outside of work? Do they volunteer in their free time? Do they have an obsession with puppies? If hired, your candidate will become a representative of your company. Do your research to make sure it’s an image you’ll be happy with.
Like many companies, Help.com gives out a homework assignment to engineering applicants to assess technical fit with our team. The practice, becoming more and more popular with startups today, allows the company to determine if the candidate’s skills fit with what the position requires. It’s easily adaptable to non-engineering positions and is also a great way to assess overall work style.
Use the assignment to gather talking points for the interview. If a question pops up about why a candidate chose one method over another, this is your opportunity to ask.
There’s not really a wrong way to interview a candidate, but it’s important to figure out what works for your company. Like most, Help.com favors what we call “The Blind Interview”.
What does it mean?
The candidate is given a broad definition of what the day will look like: “You’ll be here anywhere from 1-3 hours and will meet with one or more members of our team.”
Most interviewers know within the first five minutes if a candidate is a really good or really bad fit for their team. If within first interview you know someone is definitely not a good fit, you can reach out to your team to cancel the day’s remaining interviews and end the process seamlessly. In doing so, you’ll keep from wasting your team’s, and the candidate’s, valued time.
After the interview, send around an internal survey to gather feedback of everyone’s thoughts on the candidate. If you’re not into surveys, carve out five minutes post-interview to sit down and discuss the team’s comments.
Come prepared to the interview with a list of questions you’d like answered. Be thoughtful in your preparation and meet internally to discuss which interviewer would like to address each question. This allows you to avoid redundancy and make the most out of everyone’s time.
Find what works for you.
The interview process is complicated and will never truly be perfect. As your team scales, you’ll find that what once worked when you were a team of 10 may not be feasible when you’re 20, or even 30 people. However, the basic principles remain the same. Get to know your candidate as a person and as a professional. An interviewer (or recruiter), should know everything they need to know before bringing an applicant in. The rest is the easy part.
How do you prep for an interview? Tell us in the comments below or @helpdotcom.