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Hiring the Right Employees Archive

Seven Interviewing Techniques for Better Hiring Decisions

Want to spend less time managing performance issues?  Hire the right people. The right people make everything work. The wrong people drain your time, patience, and resources.

Instead of spending 60-90 minutes doing multiple interviews, which tell you little, give candidates a chance to experience the job, and see how they do.

I used to conduct thorough interviews after screening candidates via phone. I’d ask a lot of questions, and I still hired the wrong people. And as a result, we’ve changed our hiring practices at Candid Culture. We no longer do traditional interviews after phone screens. Instead, after conducting a phone screen, we give candidates about an hour to do parts of the job. Then we decide if we want to talk with them further.

hire slow fire fast

Too many companies spend too much time interviewing candidates they won’t hire. You might have multiple employees interview a candidate. It’s not uncommon for candidates to meet seven or eight people and spend multiple days interviewing. The ultimate decision maker often interviews the person last, cuts the candidate, and thus wasted existing employees’ and the candidate’s time. If you want your employees to be involved in the hiring process, have them interview only the candidates the decision maker would be willing to hire. Why waste everyone’s time?

Here Are Seven Interviewing Techniques to Make Better Hiring Decisions:

Interviewing Techniques Number One:  Consider hiring a recruiting firm to source and screen candidates. Reading 100 resumes is likely not how you want to spend your time.

 Interviewing Techniques Number Two:  If you choose not to outsource recruiting, create a few steps for candidates to follow when applying for a job with your company to weed out the people who aren’t serious.  It’s better to see 20 resumes from serious candidates than 100 resumes from candidates who potentially aren’t really interested in your company.

 Interviewing Techniques Number Three:  If you’re sourcing and screening your own candidates, conduct thorough phone screens. Assess culture fit and candidates’ ability to do the job, and eliminate candidates who don’t meet your criteria.

 Interviewing Techniques Number Four:  After conducting phone screens, schedule interviews with the candidates you’re interested in. Tell candidates they’ll be participating in a practical interview during which they’ll get to do parts of the job, so they can see if they’ll enjoy the work.

 Interviewing Techniques Number Five:  Have candidates do some work, observe them and/or the work they produce, and provide some positive and improvement feedback. If, after observing candidates do some work, you think they can do the job, and the candidate accepted your feedback without becoming defensive, conduct an in-person interview. If you don’t think they can do the job or were not open to feedback, eliminate the candidate.

During interviews, I screen for a candidate’s willingness to accept coaching and feedback. People who aren’t coachable or open to feedback are exhausting and difficult to work with.

Interviewing Techniques Number Six:  If you’re interested in a candidate after both the practical and in-person, video or phone interview, conduct detailed reference checks. Never, ever skip the reference check.

Interviewing Techniques Number Seven:  Lastly, if you’re going to extend an offer, ask your finalists to spend a day or half a day job shadowing. Job shadowing virtually is trickier than in person, but with some creativity, it can be done. Candidates and employers are on their best behavior during an interview and become more relaxed outside of the traditional interview. You want candidates to get a feeling for what it’s really like to work in your organization. Culture fit is the hardest thing for candidates and hiring managers to predict. Job shadowing helps.

Slow down your interviewing, be more thorough, and make better hiring decisions.

hire slow fire fast

Act on Red Flags – Listen to Your Gut

Every time I ignore the red flags I see when interviewing a candidate, or when I feel an employee is struggling, or a project is off track, I pay the price. Every single time.

You interview a candidate who has had six jobs in the last year. You think, “Maybe this one will work out.” No it won’t. Move on.  You haven’t gotten an update from a project team in over a month. You think, “This group is typically reliable. Things are probably fine.” Check in. Even the most diligent employees need accountability and attention.

They call them red flags for a reason. If you suspect a problem, there likely is one. Don’t just wait and ‘see how things go.’ Make a hard decision, get more information, or get involved. Wait and see is often a recipe for disaster.

Sometimes we don’t get involved because we don’t have the time or want to focus on other things. Other times we just don’t trust or listen to our gut.

Trust yourself.

Here are a six steps you can take to help listen to yourself and ensure you don’t overlook or ignore red flags:

1. Become very clear about your desired outcome. Decide what you want.
2. Eliminate distractions. Get quiet, aka, still your mind.
3. Think about the situation at hand. Weigh the facts and your options.
4. Decide without belaboring.
5. Act on your decision.
6. Don’t look back. Your initial decision is usually the right one.

Trusting and listening to ourselves can be hard. Perhaps it’s the fear of making a mistake or being wrong. Chances are you’re right. So pay attention to the red flags, trust yourself, and listen to your gut.

hire slow fire fast


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