You’re probably sick of hearing about the hot IT job market, but the fact that it is an IT job seekers’ market makes it more important than ever for hiring employers to see interviewing as a two-way street. The interview offers an opportunity for the employer to make a positive impression on the candidate. It is a chance for the employer to not only gauge whether a candidate is a good fit for the organization, but also to show what is has to offer. To make the best possible hire for your company, consider the following advice commonly given to job interviewees — and how they’re relevant to interviewers too.
Just as interviewees should be prepared to answer your questions, interviewers should be prepared to ask these questions. Read over the candidate’s resume, cover letter, and other relevant application materials before the interview; take notes on specific information about which you’d like to know more. Have more general questions written down, and incorporate them into your conversation accordingly.
Keep things professional.
Have you ever been in an interview that felt more like an interrogation? Or one where you barely got a word in? Job candidates will perform better when they feel comfortable and respected. Conduct the interview like a conversation. Listen to their responses and build off of them with open-ended follow-up questions; you should be talking for less than 25% of the interview. Some interviewers use small talk to break the ice, but it’s important to steer the conversation away from potentially uncomfortable territory. Interviewees shouldn’t delve into their personal lives, and neither should you. Even questions asked with the most innocent of intentions, such as whether the candidate has children or is married, should be avoided. In fact, these particular questions are illegal for their potential to encourage hiring discrimination.
If a job seeker asks questions to determine whether they will like the company or to get a better understanding of the job or company culture, be open and honest in your answer (while maintaining professionalism). While you want to sell your company to the candidate, providing a realistic picture allows candidates to make an informed decision that can minimize the risk of a hire that will bail after a few months.
While it is understandable that some employers only contact candidates selected for interviews, those that have come in for interviews should be informed of the employer’s decision either way in a timely manner. Reputation matters and good and timely follow-up, whether you’re making an offer or letting them know you went with someone else, will reflect positively on your organization.
Just as it is the goal of interviewees to convince the hiring organization that they are the best person for the job, it is up to interviewers to convince outstanding candidates that the organization is a desirable place to work. Good interviewing practices can ensure a mutually beneficial experience for both the employer and candidate. The best interviewers will bring out the best in their interviewees, paving the path to successful hires!