It doesn't take long for managers with hiring responsibilities to categorize the candidates they have interviewed. Some are natural salesmen, relying heavily on personal charm to build a rapport as they try to land their dream job. Some are storytellers, filled with engaging anecdotes about past accomplishments. Others are all business, rattling off credentials like reading bullet points from a memo. Some managers may prefer one personality type over another, leading them to choose candidates based on comfort level rather than on who would make the best fit in the position.
There is a way to avoid falling into this trap.
The technique we recommend is called the structured interview, which means, in essence, asking each candidate the same core questions so that you can objectively compare and contrast responses in order to determine the most qualified applicant for the position. In today's litigious employment environment, structured interviews have the benefit of being more defensible if a hiring decision is challenged.
The process starts well before the interview, by going back to the summary of job requirements developed at the start of the search process. From that summary identify three to six core competencies that you want to assess, and prepare one to three questions about each competency. Questions should be open-ended and provide you with the opportunity to follow up to get more detailed responses. You want to be able to use the responses to assess social and interpersonal skills, the ability to think critically and make effective decisions, and organizational fit.
You may find it worthwhile to develop a rating scale, perhaps a 1 to 5 ranking, with 1 being poor, 3 average and 5 outstanding. If you do, set specific benchmarks for each possible ranking so your scoring will be both comprehensive and objective.
As the hiring manager, you may create the questions yourself, or you may seek input from other members of the interviewing team. Yes, you should take a team approach to the interview process. Figure on at least three interviews – one with you, one with another manager, and one with your supervisor or with someone who would be one of the candidate's peers if he or she is hired. The higher the position in your company's hierarchy, the more interviews you schedule. READ MORE
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