Picture it. You’re in your office on a beautiful weekday morning. You've grabbed your second cup of coffee, greeted your employees, and you just took a seat at your desk. You swivel in your chair and pull up your calendar only to see a notification that reads “Interview”. Suddenly your shoulders slouch, your momentum is shot, and you’re already enacting the dreaded process in your mind like a bad sitcom episode — unfortunately, this is a reality for many small business owner-managers. The interviewing process should be an exciting and promising time for your company, because you’re meeting potential employees who can help take your company to the next level. However, without a carefully planned interviewing strategy, this process can be extensive, draining, and costly in the long-run.
I’ve been through my fair share of interviews, on both sides of the desk. My experiences have taught me a lot, but one of the most important lessons is asking the right questions in the right way and assessing the responses as objectively as possible. This not only speeds up the interviewing process but also helps to ensure your company’s hiring decision is legally defensible and that the most qualified applicant is hired.
1. Conduct a job analysis for the vacant position, to write a thorough job description (NOTE: This is very different from writing a Job ad/announcement).
2. Create behavioral and/or situational interview questions for each of the major competencies listed in the job description. When developing these questions, focus on critical incidents or scenarios that have happened in the past at your company or could happen, as it relates to each responsibility/competency.
3. Create examples of an excellent, average, and poor response to each question.
4. Assign a numerical rating to each example response, e.g., Excellent = 5; Average = 3; Poor = 1.
5. During the interview, rate an applicant’s interview performance based on their response to the behavioral and/or situational interview questions. Use your examples of an excellent, average, and poor response to each question as benchmarks. Be sure to take notes explaining why you gave a particular rating.
6. To increase fairness and consistency, have multiple interviewers rate an applicant and provide rationale for their ratings to reach a consensus. If there isn’t complete agreement, choose the rating reported by the majority or the average of all the ratings.
7. Calculate an applicant’s overall interview rating and qualification level, by adding the average ratings for each competency.
8. Choose the applicant whose overall interview rating qualifies them for the position. If the most qualified applicant is deficient in 1 or 2 responsibilities/competencies, you should give them a 90-day probationary period where they receive on-the-job training and close supervision to increase their experience and skills in the deficient competencies to an acceptable level.
You’ll find that this standardized interviewing process takes some of the guesswork out of interviewing and produces a more consistent way of determining how prepared new employees are to take on their new role and what you need to do to better prepare them for success over the long-term. If you don’t have the time or the resources to standardize your interviewing process, let us develop it for you! Contact us TODAY, for a complimentary 1-hr consultation to get started!