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Five Steps to Better Interviewing

When it comes right down to it, your organization’s success depends in large part on the quality of the people you employ. Recruiting and hiring the very best people — and terminating the ones who aren’t performing — are among the most powerful ways of improving both the efficiency and the effectiveness of your business.

Every interview consists of five key steps:

  1. Welcome the applicant.

    Greet your candidates warmly and chat with them informally to help loosen them up. Questions about the weather, the difficulty of finding your offices, or how they found out about your position are old standbys.

  2. Summarize the position.

    Briefly describe the job, the kind of person you’re looking for, and the interview process you use.

  3. Ask your questions (and then listen!).

    Questions should be relevant to the position and should cover the applicant’s work experience, education, and other related topics. Limit the amount of talking you do as an interviewer. Many interviewers end up trying to sell the job to an applicant instead of probing whether a candidate is a good fit.

  4. Probe experience and discover the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses.

    The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, so exploring applicants’ past experience can be very informative. Asking your candidates to name their strengths and weaknesses may seem clichéd, but the answers can be very revealing.

  5. Conclude the interview.

    Allow your candidates the opportunity to offer any further information that they feel is necessary for you to make a decision, and to ask questions about your firm or the job. Thank them for their interest and let them know when they can expect your firm to contact them.

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