This is the fourth part in an ongoing series about resource management and the process of hiring new employees. Most recently, I discussed the strategies for going through resumes, so we'll discuss the interview stage next.
What questions do you ask when looking for a new hire? Do you take the time to tailor your inquiries to individual applicants? How can you gauge whether someone will excel at his or her job, not just at the interview?
Brian Libby, writing for CBS News, advises researching your candidates before the interview - much as you would before a meeting with a client. Today, a simple internet search can provide a snapshot of an individual - personality, past, interests and experience. As in sales meetings, having background information will enable you to ask more pointed questions that generate more insightful answers. Additionally, this can save time during the interview that usually gets sapped by the back-story, Libby points out. However, be sure to stick to the professional questions. Inquiring about religion, age, national origin, marital status, gender or sexual orientation can break employment laws if they are not essential to performing the job responsibilities.
With the candidate's credentials in one hand and the job criteria in the other, you can form a set of questions that dig into the person's behavior, instincts and skills.
I recently read an older piece from Inc. magazine, in which Sarah Kessler identifies some of the main types of questions you may ask during an interview. General questions may clear up a statement on the resume or provide a reason for why the candidate wants to leave his or her current position. While hypotheticals can offer a sense of how the applicant would behave in certain situations, they can also be misleading. Behavioral questions are the best for learning about the person's past performance and getting an idea of how they may act in the future.
Libby acknowledges that it may be tempting to make snap decisions about a candidate without giving yourself time to weigh all the factors.
"To some extent, that tendency can be harnessed as a kind of intrinsic sixth sense," he admits. "But have faith in the process as a whole. Many of the best employees might not make a great first impression, but their talent reveals itself more and more over time."
By investing time to prepare for interviews before the candidates come into your office, you can save time and money later by avoiding a bad hire and bringing on an outstanding addition to the team.
Matthew Asser has spent the last few decades gaining expertise in how financial services firms can optimize their operations, marketing, new products, business development and client relationship management practices. He's well-versed in the challenges that an entrepreneur may struggle with, and as a Senior Coach and Facilitator, helps clients achieve business change through The Covenant Group’s extensive financial advisor training programs.