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Two women in a successful candidate interview

How to Prepare for Successful Candidate Interviews

You’ve found a selection of candidates to interview for your opening and you’re juggling schedules to get them on site. You hope to be successful in finding a candidate that’s the perfect fit for the work, the team, and the organization. Predictive hiring tools, along with careful preparation, are recommended to get the best hires. To hedge your bets, getting ready for the interview is as important as the interview itself. Like everything in life, it’s all about the prep.


Step 1: Determine Who Should be Involved

Who participates in the hiring process is mission-critical. Recruiters typically screen for the basics: is their resume accurate; are they who they say they are; what are their basic skills, communication, etc. From there often a hiring manager will follow up with job-specific questions.

In today’s time-to-hire pressure-cooker environment, it might make sense to rethink who is involved, and when. Can you build questions into the process for the recruiter to save managerial time? Is there a need to go beyond basics and delve deeper into the candidate’s soft skills? Who will assess these? Assigning the right person to each task can result in a more cohesive hiring process and hiring decision faster and get more successful hires.

Step 2: Find Out What You Don’t Know

Do you know what you don’t know when it comes to hiring specific candidates?

Many companies today are dipping their toes into tech waters, for example. Those who previously outsourced tech are finding it’s more cost-effective and efficient to have an in-house employee. But few have the skills to assess a candidate’s technology chops. The same can be said of other uncharted avenues companies are exploring.

Who will interview these candidates? Who has the knowledge base to verify they know what they’re talking about? Prepping for these interviews can be critical. A bad tech hire, for example, can mean more than a bad employee: the impact they might have on data, privacy and your reputation could be devastating. Preparing for interviews where you’re unsure of your knowledge base might require bringing in a consultant. It begins with understanding what you don’t know.

Step 3: Determine Interview Process & Employee Involvement

Does your typical hiring process dictate this will be the first of many interviews or will a decision be made on the spot? In today’s tight applicant market a lengthy interview process could mean a lost candidate. If you’re hoping to snag talent before someone else has the chance, can you consolidate several interviews into one longer session? Rather than having HR prescreen, then schedule a follow-up interview at a later date, consider having hiring authorities, team members, and others at the ready, if the candidate is worthy of passing up the ladder.

Step 4: Look Beyond the Resume

A new focus is on soft skills/emotional intelligence like leadership, strong communication skills, and the potential to learn and grow. EI may be as strong an arbiter of success as background and qualifications, but screening for these may be challenging. Does every role require leadership abilities? Would adding a new hire with them to enhance or disrupt a team that already has strong leaders in place? What type of communicator will likely succeed in the job or with the group? A deep understanding of what the role requires is key to affect a successful hire. Scheduling interviewers who are adept at delving deeper than the resume to find the right fit may be as important as verifying experience and degrees.

When you’re ready to hire, make sure you’re also ready to interview. Sprockets’ predictive hiring solution, the Applicant Matching System, can help.


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