Interviewing: Don't Jump the Gun

Yesterday we heard from Bill Driscoll, district president for Accountemps, concerning the interview process and materials. Today we will hear more from Driscoll, including tips on maximizing the value of an interview and securing the best candidates.

Here are a few tips to maximize the value of an interview:

  • Be prepared. Candidates aren’t the only ones who need to prep for an interview. Review the candidate’s materials again, and make sure you’re asking the right questions.
  • Set a welcoming tone. Create a comfortable environment, make some small talk, and let the candidate know what he or she can expect from the meeting.
  • Ask good questions. Prepare open-ended interview questions that will reveal a candidate’s past experience on the job.
  • Allow the candidate to complete his or her thoughts. Sometimes, interviewees need a moment to think.
  • Don’t jump the gun. Avoid forming an opinion, good or bad, on the basis of one comment. Consider the interview as a whole.
  • Promote your company. It’s important to make a good impression on candidates, especially in today’s competitive hiring market. Discuss enticing benefits or perks, corporate culture, and what makes the company unique.

Advice for Securing the Best Candidate

Keep in mind that hiring timelines and processes that worked well 5 years ago—or even 1 year ago—may be outdated and could need revision. For instance, get comfortable with the fact that the first candidate you interview can be the best. Holding up the process for the sake of finding a set number of viable candidates can cost you good people and money.
When they aren’t kept in the loop, candidates lose patience and pursue other roles, and also question the firm’s ability to make other decisions. In a recent survey of workers, 23% said they lose interest in the job if they haven’t heard back on their status within 1 week of an interview, and 46% lose interest if there’s no word between 1 and 2 weeks postinterview. Make sure your company isn’t letting good candidates get away because you’re dragging your feet.
Finally, help prevent delays and mistakes by remaining closely involved in the hiring process, from reviewing application materials to interviewing applicants to extending the offer. A balance of thoroughness and efficiency yields the best results.
Bill Driscoll is the New England district president of Accountemps, a division of Robert Half, and is based in the company’s Boston office. Driscoll oversees professional staffing services for Robert Half’s 23 offices throughout Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and portions of New York. 

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