Want the Best Employees? Prepare for the Interview

Note from Dan Oswald: This week’s Oswald Letter was written by Scott Peek, the customer service supervisor at Simplify Compliance. I think he makes a great point and that his thoughts are worth sharing.

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When interviewing, it’s important to remember that you’re being interviewed, too.
We all know that when interviewing potential candidates, it’s important to remember that, chances are, you are seeing them at their best. They have been preparing for it. There are even websites designed to help them practice and give them hints on how to make the best impression and what questions to ask. The candidate is there to sell herself, and you are her customer.
However, it’s just as important to remember to put your best foot—and that of your organization—forward. In many instances, the impression you give, good or bad, is what the candidate will associate with your entire company. You are there to sell your company, and the interviewee is your customer.
You owe it to the interviewee and your company to be prepared—and not just with information about the open position, information about your company, and questions she won’t hear in other interviews. Perhaps most important is information about why she will want to be part of your organization. Be prepared to talk about company culture and why you are there. What is the average employee tenure? How long have you been with the organization? Why do you stay? What makes your workplace different from others?
It’s no secret that it’s more expensive to hire a new employee than to retain an existing one. If you aren’t prepared for the interview, you may cost yourself your first choice—and someone who could positively affect your organization for 20-plus years.
When preparing for an interview, be sure to do the following:
  • Make notes/use a highlighter on the résumé;
  • Have questions specific to the candidate’s qualifications/experience;
  • Ask how they will translate to your company/role/culture; and
  • Ask the candidate what she feels was her biggest impact with a previous employer.

You will find that if you are as prepared for the interview as you expect the candidate to be, you will make a better, longer-lasting impression on the candidate and more than likely improve your chances of landing the employee for whom you’re looking.
Dan’s conclusion: It’s easy to assume that it’s incumbent on job candidates to prepare and impress the interviewer when they come in to interview for a position. Scott provides a great reminder that it’s just as important for the interviewer to prepare and impress the candidate. Good, talented employees are hard to find. Good, talented employees who fit with your culture are even harder to find. If you want to land the best, you need to be prepared for the interview and “sell” the candidate on why your company is the right fit. As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

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