Interviewing Tips for Managers

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Interviewing Tips for Managers

The Great Resignation has uncovered many new challenges for hiring managers. While finding candidates is easier than it's ever been, qualifying, interviewing, and checking references in an efficient and equitable way is more difficult than ever.

In this post, we'll talk about interviewing tips for managers, interviewer preparation before the interview, and interview techniques to identify top performers.

Let's face it, interviews can be tough on everyone.

Going into an interview, the hiring manager and candidate may be meeting each other for the first time and breaking the ice can feel awkward.

Interviewing via Zoom with varying internet speeds, communication styles, and faltering connections can make us feel like we're interrupting, talking over one another, or worse, completely missing parts of the conversation.

Which is why setting a candidate at ease should be the first priority for any interviewer. If the hiring manager comes into the interview late or stressed, the natural tendency will be to rush the process and project their stress onto the candidate.

If a candidate feels that the interviewer is tense or stressed, it might lead to a negative impression of the company, resulting in the candidate exiting the process and perhaps even urging others not to apply.

This is why a great interview actually starts long before the interview itself.

Check out our Ultimate Interview Checklist to start the hiring process on the right foot!

So, we've established that preparation is critical to nailing the interview. This means being clear about what the role entails, what skills and qualities are required, and knowing the company's story, culture, and team inside and out are imperatives.

Next, work with your team to develop a list of questions that will help you assess whether or not the candidate is a good fit for the role. This can speed up the screening process and get you a pool of qualified candidates. Here are 5 Tips to Screen Candidates More Efficiently.

Naturally, it's just as crucial to know what not to ask in an interview. Bad questions can come off as insensitive, unprofessional, or even offensive. This can upset the candidate and derail the interview process. Here's a list of questions you should never ask in an interview.

Once you have a list of "must-haves", these items may be compiled into a semi-structured list of questions that you can ask during your interview. These questions will help the interviewer stay focused and achieve better interview outcomes. The more prepared you are, the calmer and more confident you'll be, which will help put your candidate at ease.

Adding an interview intelligence software can help you turn these questions into a hiring process that increases your effectiveness and speeds up the process without putting pressure on candidates.

Interview Guide for Hiring Managers

Most of us didn't have a class called "interviewing 101 for managers." We had to figure it out through trial and error. Which meant we had to learn from our own mistakes; often by hiring the wrong people. 

If you're new to hiring or just looking for a refresher, this interview guide for hiring managers will help you learn the ropes and avoid some of the common mistakes we made early on in our careers.

We all know that humans are dynamic. So when it comes to candidate assessment, there are three main types of questions you should ask:
*Behavioral questions
*Situational questions
*Competency questions

Here are some examples of each question:

Behavioral Questions:
"Give an example of when you have had to deal with a difficult customer- how did you help them achieve a positive outcome?"
*"Tell me about when you have had to handle a difficult or challenging situation at work- how did you handle it and describe the outcome?"
*"How do you deal with stress while working? Give an example of a time when you were under a lot of pressure."

Situational Questions:
*"If a customer expressed that they were extremely unhappy with our product, what would you do?"
*"You're working on a project and your team is not meeting the deadlines, what do you do?"
*"Think back to the last time you were feeling overwhelmed with your workload, how did you handle feeling overwhelmed?"

Competency Questions:
"Can you give an example of when you had to manage multiple tasks at once? How did you manage time to accomplish all the necessary tasks?"
*"What would you do if you received a complaint from a customer? How would you resolve it?"
*"Tell me about a time when you had to handle a difficult customer service issue. How did you resolve it?"

The manner in which a candidate answers these questions may assist you in determining their grasp of "hard" and "soft" skills.

The hard skills required are often quite simple. For example, if you're looking for a web developer, they should know how to code in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. If you're looking for an accountant, they should be able to use accounting software like Quickbooks. And, if you're hiring a sales person they should be able to run an effective demo.

The soft skills are more difficult to assess as they are often intangible. For example, qualities like "team player"  or "attention to detail." Soft skills are often just as important as hard skills and will likely have a bigger impact on job performance, culture fit, and employee satisfaction.

An interview intelligence software can simplify this entire process and help you make effective, unbiased hiring decisions so that you get the best candidates. Pillar's interview intelligence platform allows organizations to center hiring decisions on objective reality rather than subjective opinions.

Hiring Tips for Managers

Up to this point, we've covered "interviewing 101 for managers." Let's switch gears and talk about the #1 question we hear in every conversation on everyone's mind...

"How do I hire the best candidate?"

The importance of hiring the right employee cannot be stressed enough. According to Jörgen Sundberg, in his article entitled "What is the True Cost of Hiring a Bad Employee?", the cost of onboarding the wrong employee could be as much $240,000.00 and keeping the wrong employee for 2.5 years could cost a company upwards of $840,000.00. If you think about it, these are potentially catastrophic costs for a startup.

Hiring the best candidate starts with building a hiring process that empowers the candidate to showcase their best skills and talents throughout each step.

We recommend a six step process:
1.) Phone Screening
2.) First Interview
3.) Technical Assessment
4.) Team Panel Interview
5.) Final Stage Interview
6.) Reference Checks

You can learn more about this 6 step process in our E-Book, How to hire great software engineers.

One of the key factors to hiring the right employees is turning your team into unbiased, pro interviewers. This is easier said than done.

Unconscious bias is something we all struggle with whether we'd like to admit it or not, and using an interview intelligence software will help eliminate bias and identify the best candidates. This is one of our biggest tips for hiring managers.

By using an interview intelligence software, you can keep your interviews consistent. The software will also help you score candidates objectively and give you data-driven feedback on each candidate without human bias.

How to Start an Interview
as a Manager

How many of us have gone into an interview with a hiring manager who was clearly attempting to speed-read our resume before diving in? We don't want to be that person.

Here's how to start an interview as a manager:

First, come prepared. Try to avoid the common trap of asking "tell me about yourself." This question is generic, elicits off-topic responses, puts pressure on the candidate, and doesn't give you any specific information about their qualifications or if they're a good fit for your team.

Breaking the ice is always a bit awkward but a great start to an interview.

Before jumping into the interview, you should feel comfortable greeting the candidate, introducing yourself and your company, and setting the agenda for the conversation.This will give the candidate time to acclimate to your style of communication and settle into the conversation.

If you have mutual friends or connections on LinkedIn, mentioning their names and how you know them can build immediate rapport between you and the candidate.

Next, you should come to the interview prepared with a list of semi-structured questions that are asked of each candidate for this role. This will help you eliminate personal biases to identify the best candidates for the role.

Remember, the person is interviewing you and your company in much the same way as you are interviewing them, so a great interviewer will allow the candidate to exhibit their skills, talents, and experiences while also answering questions regarding the company that help the candidate determine whether they would be a good fit for your team.

Hiring manager interview training is paramount to pulling this off repeatedly. After all, repetition is key to mastery.

Here’s a list of tips from 5 of the world’s best interviewers.

Where many hiring managers trip up is believing they can wing it, or that their years of experience give them an intuition for who will be a good fit and who won't. This may be true at times, but the best interviewers are constantly honing their skills and practicing active listening so they can ask the right questions that elicit the information they need to make great hiring decisions.

Want to use AI to make your interview process smarter? Pillar's interview intelligence software empowers teams to hire the right talent efficiently and equitably. Request a demo to see how we can help you streamline your hiring process.