As a hiring manager, you’ll undoubtedly have a wealth of experience conducting interviews. However, whilst there’s often a dearth of articles offering advice for candidates, articles for hiring managers can be few and far between. Interviewing is an art form and to become a master takes time and a good dose of reflection. By interviewing well, not only will you be able to make sound hiring decisions, you’ll be able to impress your candidates, increasing the likelihood that they’ll accept your job offer. With that in mind we’ve put together some of our fundamental tips for hiring managers. Hopefully, they will act as a refresher and help you to further your interviewing skills.
Prepare the candidate & your physical environment
Nowadays, interviews can take many forms. Whether you’re conducting a face-to-face, video, or telephone interview, it’s essential that you prepare your physical space for the interview ahead and ensure that it’s free from distractions or interruptions. If video interviewing, ensure that your connection and video interviewing tech is up to the task at hand, and make sure that what is ‘in-view’ presents your company in a professional light. You’ll also want to ensure that your candidate has been made aware of any interview preparations they need to make their end, especially if you’re conducting a video interview or if they need to dial into a conference line for example. Ensuring the candidate has a copy of the job description at the start of the interview will help provide a good point of reference when discussing the role in more detail.
Prepare relevant questions
The questions you ask at an interview are the foundation for making hiring decisions down the line. In energy, construction, and offshore roles, a candidate’s technical skills, prior experience and health & safety awareness will be paramount. Whilst you might already have a good idea of the candidate you’re looking for, developing a standardised approach with set questions will allow you to offer a consistent and fair approach. Before an interview, take the time to list the most important job tasks, challenges, and characteristics required for the role. Then, develop behavioural questions that assess how a candidate has performed a specific task or coped with a situation. For each question, it’s worth jotting down a few follow up questions to help you probe deeper and coax out more information where necessary.
Admittedly, finding the time to prepare for interviews can be tricky. Busy working schedules often take precedent, and it’s not uncommon for a hiring manager’s pre-interview prep to consist solely of printing off a candidate’s CV. However any time spent will pay dividends. Before the interview, take some time to explore each candidate’s CV, LinkedIn and online presence. This will help you to identify any specifics that you want to explore in more detail. Whilst skills and experience often take centre stage, don’t forget to assess cultural fit and soft skills. Working offshore for example is more than a 9 – 5 job and ensuring a candidate is the right cultural fit (for the company and team), will help to eliminate issues in the future.
If candidates have completed online assessments, ensure that you’ve taken the time to look through them, and that you’re able to talk about the results with confidence. Candidate assessments should be used in conjunction with the interview, ensuring that you have a rounded picture of their skills, experience, and company fit.
Most candidates will have their own questions about the role and how it will contribute to the wider company. In addition, they may be assessing cultural fit so they might ask questions about team structure, company values, flexibility etc. Your role as an interviewer is two-fold; to assess a candidate’s abilities, and to sell the role to the candidate. To do so, you’ll need a solid picture of what the role ‘looks like’ in the real world … not just what it looks like on paper.
What happens after the interview can make or break a candidate’s impression of your company. Be sure to set clear parameters for what will happen afterwards. When will they hear whether they’ve been successful or not? Remember, providing a positive experience could mean the difference between the candidate choosing your job over another, and even if the candidate isn’t successful, they may be perfect for a future role. If the candidate is required to provide i.e. NEBOSH certificates for offshore work, ensure that you follow up with them shortly after the interview to obtain these. Contact the candidate or agency within the agreed timescales, and if possible provide useful feedback. By doing so, you’ll leave a lasting and positive impression, increasing the likelihood that they’ll apply to your company in the future.
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