Do you have a professional hiring process?What is it about interviews that make us think we can just cross our fingers and “wing it?”  Maybe it’s the chemistry we feel with applicants, their impressive appearance or maybe it’s because we just don’t have the time to prepare. Really?  C’mon!  A bad hiring process not only costs your company it’s professional reputation, but it can also lead to loss of revenue and market share! 

To get the greatest return on your time when interviewing, you need to plan ahead and develop a consistent structure for your interview process. Not only will a professional hiring process have obvious benefits to your company, the A Players have high standards and expectations and perceive a sloppy process to be a direct representation of the leadership.  Another words…a place they do not want to work!

Don’t let just ‘anyone’ do the interviewing…whether it is you or the doorman, make sure the interviewer is trained and prepared.  After all…isn’t that what you are asking of your interviewee? 

Here is a simple process we suggest to get you going on the right path to implementing a professional hiring process!

Before The Interview

  Resume: Take the time to review it…BEFORE meeting with them! Make notes of any potential issues on a separate sheet of paper…not on the resume.  Have more than one person, and if possible three people, review the resume and interview the applicant so that you get more than one opinion.
     
  Behavioral Assessment: After reviewing all your resumes, make a ‘short list’ that you want to interview, and ask them to take a behavioral assessment before the interview and before giving them an abundance of details about the position.  The behavioral assessment is not a pass or fail test but can provide you with a candidate’s potential for success, based upon your definition of appropriate behavior for this position. 
     
  Interview Questions: Write them down!  Don’t wing it!  Your questions should focus on each candidate’s past experience, present responsibilities, odds for future success with your company.  More importantly, write your questions down to avoid inadvertantly asking illegal interview questions!

During The Interview

  History: Since past performance is a reliable predictor of future performance, taking the time to understand how each applicant developed over their career makes predicting their future with you much easier. That’s why we suggest you start with the first job on the applicant’s resume and ask (listening carefully and taking detailed notes):  I see you worked at ______, from ____to____. Why did you choose that firm?  What were your responsibilities and how did they grow?  Who supervised you?  Why did you leave?If the candidate’s answer agrees with the resume, ask these questions until you’ve covered every job listed. If it does not agree, ask them to clarify the discrepancy. What you are trying to determine is that the candidate actually KNOWS what’s on his/her resume. Studies indicate that 40-50% of all candidates embellish or exaggerate on their resume. A thorough resume discussion also helps you better understand the strengths, weaknesses and relevant experience each candidate brings to the job. 
     
  Conversation: Spend more time listening than talking.
     
  More Questions: Keep questioning if you are not satisfied with an answer. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarification; take full advantage of this time to get to know the candidate. (You can ask any question as long as it is job relevant.)
     
  Future Performance: After you have discussed the candidate’s past performance in depth, it is time to examine future performance. This can be accomplished by asking open ended factual and behavioral interview questions such as:  What is your greatest accomplishment?  What was your greatest disappointment?  How do you like to be managed?  What situations motivate you?  Do you consider yourself successful?  Give me an example of a project you completed despite obstacles.

After The Interview

  Skills Test: Have the candidate(s) complete appropriate skills tests – don’t just trust they know how to use Microsoft Office because they listed it on their resume.  Only have the applicants that you are really interested in, take the test…good rule of thumb might be to have them do a skills test when you bring them in for the second interview.
     
  Behavioral Assessment: Consult the results of the behavioral assessment for the best job candidates to receive an unobstructed view of a candidate’s workplace tendencies.
     
  Decision Time: Keep your hiring process moving…don’t drag your feet.  Keep your candidates up to speed during the decision making process.  This will set a professional tone for all involved and keep your company and culture in a positive light.  After all, you may be referring back to one of them if negotiations with your finalist don’t go as planned! 

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