Hello there!! I’m excited to share my best interview advice to craft a solid team when it comes to hiring your next employee. I’m the face behind @allyhires and as my handle goes, hiring is what I do! It isn’t just my profession, it’s my downright passion.
People tend to cringe at this point. I totally get it. Very few business owners enjoy hiring a new employee. You invested time into training a valued associate and right as they have mastered their role, they’ve moved on. You’re back at square one and have to go through the interview process yet again.
I wasn’t always this excited about it either. When I first made my move into recruiting, I would have to psych myself up before conducting interviews. Raise your hand if you have ever had nervous anxiety sweats before an interview.
Whether you’ve been through hundreds of interviews or this is one of the first additions to your team, there are a few easy tricks to up your game.
1. Be a good human being.
Think back to the worst interview you have been on. Recall that time you were looking for your first job, fresh out of college, or had just been laid off. That terrible experience that makes you shake your head and curse the interviewer under your breath. Now, promise me: DO NOT MAKE THE SAME MISTAKES.
Showing up late or making them wait
Forgetting the interview
Taking calls or checking your phone, or answering emails
Intentionally being condescending or patronizing
10 minute quickie conversation
Unemployment is at a fifty year low and rest assured, applicants have other interviews lined up. The interview process is as much for them as it is for you. They will find another job elsewhere if they felt they weren’t treated with dignity and respect.
At the end of the day, it comes down to treating others the way you’d want to be treated. Don’t be someone’s future horror story.
2. Have a clear idea of who you want.
It’s difficult to lose a trusted employee. I recommend shifting the mindset from losing a valuable member and questioning how will anyone ever compare, to envisioning how your company would be structured in a perfect world. If you could redefine the role and find the perfect person, who would it be?
Make a list of the following:
Technical requirements – Ex: coding languages, past softwares, certifications, experience.
Soft skill requirements – Ex: leadership, team player, organized, excellent communication.
Preferred technical skills – Ex: bilingual, sales background, high volume, agency experience.
Preferred soft skills – Ex: detail oriented, sense of humor, deals well with ambiguity.
Structure of the role – Ex: schedule, working location, who they report to.
Shoot for 4-5 requirements, along with 3-4 ideal traits.
Is this a new role for your team? Do a quick Google search for the job descriptions other companies have to get ideas of requirements and preferences.
3. Break the interview down into three components.
I’m convinced that one of the reasons people detest interviewing is because they don’t now how to do it. A foolproof method is to break the interview down into three parts: Past work history. Let the candidate speak. Ask about their current role, what they enjoy about it, and what their least favorite part is. Inquire as to why they are looking to leave. Find out why they left their prior employer and be sure to ask how many weeks notice they gave.
Technical and soft skills.They key is to ask as many open-ended questions as possible, rather than leading them to the correct answer. Ask about the types of systems they have worked with, softwares they have used, and languages they speak. For soft skills, inquire as to examples of past situations: a time they had to collaborate on a project, a situation where there was a tight deadline, and a scenario where they disagreed with a client on a creative choice.
The position they are applying for. Tell them about your company, the role, the structure of the current team, and the challenges and perks. You should be spending a third of the interview finding out if this position is really what they are looking for. Don’t forget to discuss pay and benefits.
4. End on a high note.
Avoid an awkward conclusion to an interview, even when it has been a sour one or you know the person isn’t the right fit. If there is a black and white deal breaker such as the schedule, it’s fine to let them know on the spot. Otherwise, the best policy is to leave them walking out of there feeling positive.
Always ask if they have any questions for you and give a time frame on when you will follow up. Try to give yourself an honest amount of time; if it is going to take a week or two to have a decision, this is the time to share that. Thank them for taking the time to speak.
5. Seal the deal with an offer letter.
Even the smallest of businesses can present new hires with an offer letter. It helps formalize the process, legitimizes the job offer, prevents the applicant from accepting elsewhere, and starts things off on the right foot.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, but should include the following basics:
Company name (and logo, if applicable)
Candidate’s Contact Information
Title of Position
Rate of Pay
A place for them to sign
For unselected candidates, be sure to send a kind rejection email or quick phone call. You never have to share why you picked someone over them; generally, people are happy with receiving closure.
Overall, the biggest thing to keep in mind is that candidates can end up future clients! By having a respectful and prepared interview process, you not only craft a high-functioning team, but turn rejected applicants into raving fans of your business.
I’d love to hear whether this guide was helpful and what your favorite interviewing tips are! Join me in the comment section where I’ll be hanging out.
Ally Barton is an expert at hiring, a bit of a metrics geek, and has a passion for teaching how to find the best people and craft perfect teams (even with historically low unemployment). Ally has spent the last decade perfecting the art of hiring and it is her life mission to impart that knowledge to others. Infatuations include sushi, The Office, and St. Bernard puppies.