By Rieva Lesonsky
Do you dread conducting job interviews? You’re not alone. Many small business owners hate interviewing and as a result, they rush through the process and do a haphazard job, at best. Big mistake. Since many job candidates look good on paper, but not so good in real life, a thorough interview is key to choosing the right person for the job. In the final part of our 4-part series on the business solution of making your small business better by hiring the best employees, we cover the interview process.
Follow these tips to make your next interview go smoothly:
Review the person’s job application, resume and any other relevant information shortly before the interview. Create a list of core questions and have them in front of you. These questions should cover key areas such as experience, skills and background. While your conversation will undoubtedly spark new questions, be sure that you ask each person the same core questions so that you can compare candidates more directly.
Set aside enough time for the interview. Don’t allow interruptions or take calls. Don’t try to multitask or let your attention be diverted by email or your cell phone. Watching candidates’ body language is as important as listening to their answers, so you need to focus. Have pen and paper so you’re ready to jot down notes as you go along.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) guidelines restrict employers from asking interview questions that might be construed as discriminatory. You can’t ask candidates about things like their age, health status or marital status. Visit the Department of Labor website for more guidance, and check with your state’s Department of Labor to see if there are state-specific guidelines.
Don’t just ask a lot of questions that the candidate can answer with “Yes” or “No.” Open-ended questions, such as “Tell me about a challenge you faced managing people in your last job,” give the candidate space to provide details, which will give you more information about his or her personality and character as well. This CareerBuilder list of 14 questions to ask job candidates contains lots of good open-ended questions.
Be a listener.
Encourage the candidate to ask questions, too. The types of questions someone asks will give you a good idea of the type of worker he or she would be. Does the person show knowledge about your company and ask what your biggest challenge is or other questions that indicate initiative and readiness to hit the ground running? Or does the person just ask about things like benefits and time off.
If you’ve missed part 1, part 2 or part 3 of the hiring process series, we hope you’ll check it out for tips on how to hire the best employees for your small business. For ways to solidify a great social media strategy, download Infusionsoft’s e-book.