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Interviewing Techniques for Managers: How to Find a Good Culture Fit (Even if You’re Hiring Remotely)

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This past year has changed the way we live, work, and grow our businesses. As more and more companies switch to remote work, many are left looking for effective interviewing techniques for managers who are left to screen candidates from afar.

‘I think that it’s possible that over the next five to 10 years, we could get to about half of the company working remotely permanently.’Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook.

Zuckerberg isn’t the only CEO predicting a shift in workplace culture. Businesses across the globe have had to adapt their ways of working in response to COVID-19. Some have done so as a temporary measure, others as a more permanent shift.

Whether temporary or not, today’s HR teams are hiring remotely, and many are looking for new interviewing techniques for managers. Understanding a candidate’s cultural fit is one such challenge, and if you get it wrong, it’ll cost you. According to The Society for Human Resources Management, the result of poor culture fit due to turnover can cost an organization between 50 to 60 percent of the person’s annual salary.

Here are a few interviewing techniques for managers to help your team find the best-fit candidate, regardless of whether you hire remotely or not.

3 Interviewing Techniques for Managers

1. Ask the Right Questions

Finding candidates whose values, behaviors, qualifications, and ethics align with your organization is a hiring manager’s biggest obstacle. That’s especially true if you never get to meet a candidate in person.

Armed with the right questions, however, you can begin to paint a comprehensive picture of each candidate. Here are a few culture-focused interviewing techniques for managers to include in your interview process:

  • What gets you excited about coming to work?
  • What surprises people about you?
  • How could a manager best support you?
  • What motivates you to do your best work?
  • How do you manage conflict with coworkers?

These questions aren’t designed to understand skillsets or past work experience. Instead, questions like these help uncover how a candidate will respond to certain workplace pressures, how they approach their work, and what intrinsic factors will help drive their engagement with your business.

2. Involve More Than Your Hiring Team

Diversity of thought is one of your greatest assets. It allows you to gather a consensus about a candidate’s fit not just within a department, but across the entire business.

According to LinkedIn, however, only 35 percent of companies ensure they have a diverse interview panel when hiring. If you want a clear picture of a candidate’s culture fit with your business, be sure to include people from all corners of the business throughout the application process. When prepping your team for screening, be sure to convey these interviewing techniques for managers.

3. Perform Reference Checks

Reference checks are more than just a formality. They’re an excellent way to gather real-world testimonies about a candidate’s character and personality.

Testimonies aren’t to be relied on by themselves, however. Instead, use reference checks as a way to confirm your internal assessment of a candidate’s organizational fit. This will offer reassurance when it comes to making a final decision.

Informal meet ups aren’t out of the question

Work-from-home policies at many businesses are extending into September and beyond, according to the New York Times. And rightly so.

If you’re still unsure about a candidate’s culture fit after reviewing these interviewing techniques for managers, remember that informal meet-ups are still an option (if you do meet up in person, be sure to keep social distancing in mind). This is a great way to help hiring teams gather that important ‘gut feeling’ about a candidate’s fit at the business, which can be easily lost over a webcam. Ultimately, it’s this ‘feeling’ that matters most when it comes to considering culture fit, and it’s what will save your business from a bad hire.

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