Probably, if this is your first start up, the only time that you have been to a job interview has been on the other side of the table, so to speak, as the candidate and not the interviewer.
But now the time is ripe for you to hire your own staff member and suddenly you have no idea what questions you should be asking them.
It is very easy to fall into the trap of just having a friendly chat and then before you know it, you have promised the job already to the first candidate who has come along without knowing if they can actually do it, although you had a very pleasant chinwag with them about last night’s telly.
It may not be easy for you to assume the professional manner of someone’s boss and no one is expecting you to swagger about like Alan Sugar in the board room if you are simply hiring someone to work in your new cake shop, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be asking the relevant questions of each candidate and trying to evaluate their responses in a fair and measured manner.
Here are a few tips that you should take on board when looking to hire new staff, no matter what type of business you are in or who you are looking to hire.
THINK ABOUT THE PLACE YOU ARE HOLDING THE INTERVIEW IN
Ideally you want a mixture of an environment that is calm and quiet enough to speak in, but not so daunting or overwhelming that it makes your interviewee clam up with nerves.
Sometimes it may be an idea to remove the table in the room, if it seems like it is imposing and maybe causing a physical gulf between you and the interviewee.
Arrange the seating so it is close enough to be talking as in a normal conversation and so that they don’t have to keep raising their voices, as if they are addressing an audience.
LET THEM DO NEARLY ALL THE TALKING
The key to a successful interview is to get the candidate to do most of the talking, so that means at least 80% of the interview should be them speaking and not you.
If you are doing most of the talking, generally, something is going a bit wrong, we think! Of course if you are answering questions about the role that is fine, but if you find that you are simply talking to fill a silence then there may be a problem there.
ASK THE RIGHT QUESTIONS AND THEN FOLLOW THEM UP
Learning to ask the right kind of questions and then follow up questions about the answers you receive, is an important part of interviewing.
You may want to consider things like timeframe, when did this thing happen that the candidate is telling you about, where was it? Who was in charge of the project they are talking about and so on. Make sure you ask the relevant questions so you can piece together an accurate transcript in your head about what it is that they are telling you.
Remember, your candidate is likely to be highly nervous. Remember to focus on them, smile, make eye contact and try to put them at their ease!