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4 Critical Steps to Improving Your Interview Process

Allie Kelly

Improving Your Interview Process

Job interviews: Frankly, a lot of people are intimidated by them. With the way they’re often performed, it’s easy to see why. There’s nothing inherently fun about being grilled about your weaknesses or having to distill years of complicated work experience into snappy sound bites. Let’s face it, not many people are excited about the interview process.

Bad interview processes will turn off candidates from working at your company. Good interviews will have them excited about the role, and your company, and leave them hoping they get the job.

Here are several steps for improving your interview process:

Stop asking about weaknesses

Far and away, “What’s your biggest weakness?” is the job interview question candidates hate most, HR expert Liz Ryan wrote in an article for Forbes.

Asking interviewees what their biggest weakness is really isn’t any of a hiring manager’s business, she maintains. It’s an invasive and even rude question that undercuts the fact that no one really has weaknesses, but rather a set of unique talents. No one can be good at everything, and that’s okay – what the interview should focus on is exploring a candidates natural talents. Besides, it’s awkward, and will lead candidates to give you an answer that isn’t honest, but merely one that’s pre-rehearsed to be a strength cleverly disguised as a “weakness.”

Be a considerate host

Everyone can probably tell you a story about a job interview where they arrived at the office amidst chaos. They’ve sat in the waiting room for half an hour and then had a harried manager conduct their interview while his mind was noticeably elsewhere. It doesn’t take much imagination to think this kind of experience would ward off a candidate from taking a job at your organization.

That’s why it’s important to go out of your way to be a considerate host during the interview process. As Entrepreneur magazine recommends, you should:

  • Offer the candidate a glass of water or coffee.
  • Introduce him or her to staff.
  • Provide a tour of the office.
  • If the candidate is interviewing with multiple people, give them a schedule. Ensure he or she knows the names and titles of everyone and how they relate to the job role.

These actions create a great impression on candidates and can put their nerves at ease.

Ask open-ended questions

Skip the canned questions that every interviewer asks and instead ask questions that require critical thinking and internal reflection. In an article for Wired magazine, Laszlo Bock, senior VP of People Operations at Google, recommends asking a mix of behavioral and situational questions. Behavioral questions showcase a person’s achievements in past roles, while situational questions explore how they would act in hypothetical circumstances.

Examples of open-ended questions to ask include, as suggested by Bock:

  • Can you tell me about a time you had difficulty working with someone and how you overcame the issue?
  • Can you tell me about a time you behaved in a way that had a positive result for your team?

Allow plenty of time for the candidate to ask questions

Remember, while you’re interviewing the candidate, they’re also interviewing you. Allowing candidates to ask questions gives them a sense for if they want to be a part of your company. It also allows you to see how engaged they are in the process, and how prepared they are for the meeting.

With the tips above, interviews don’t have to be painful. They can be productive, insightful experiences for both candidate and hiring manager.
What steps have you taken toward improving your interview process?

Allie Kelly


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