Hiring Wisdom: How to Become a Better Interviewer

Photo by istockphoto.com
Photo by istockphoto.com

When was the last time you had someone evaluate your interviewing process?

It’s the best way to improve your skills and make better hiring decisions across-the-board. So, ask someone to sit in on your next interview, not to evaluate the applicant, but to evaluate your process and technique.

Below is a checklist of some of the things they should look for:

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  1. What did you do to make the applicant feel comfortable?
  2. Did you give the applicant an overview of how you would conduct the interview and examples of the kinds of answers you would be looking for?
  3. Did you position the applicant to tell you the truth?
  4. How much did you tell the applicant about the company and the job before you started asking questions?
  5. What did your body language tell the applicant?
  6. Was there a structure to the interview; a logical flow of questions?
  7. Did you take notes and, if you did, did you wait until the applicant said something positive before you wrote down anything negative?
  8. Did you probe for in-depth answers and real proof of accomplishments?
  9. Did you help or prompt the applicant’s answers or were you able to remain silent until an answer was provided
  10. Did you close on a positive note and tell the applicant what the next step would be?
  11. Did you give the applicant a chance to ask questions?
  12. Did you sell the applicant on the company even if you were not interested in hiring this particular person?
  13. Were you able to maintain control of the interview or did the applicant sometimes take over?
  14. Roughly, what percentage of the time were you talking vs. listening?
  15. Did you wait until you were through with the interview before you evaluated the answers?

If you’re unable to invite an observer, at least use the above to evaluate yourself. (For all the specifics of why these criteria are important, get a copy of Hire Tough, Manage Easy online.)

This was originally published in Mel Kleiman’s April 2012 Hiring Hints newsletter.

Mel Kleiman, CSP, is an internationally-known authority on recruiting, selecting, and hiring hourly employees. He has been the president of Humetrics since 1976 and has over 30 years of practical experience, research, consulting and professional speaking work to his credit. Contact him at mkleiman@humetrics.com.