© Written By Jimmy Sweeney
President of CareerJimmy and Author of the new,
"Job Interview Secrets"
Unlike many aspects of business, very few people have been formally trained in how to conduct a job interview. For most interviewees, it's the sort of thing they prepare for by being interviewed and getting a job. Then the next thing they know they are being scheduled to conduct interviews themselves. If they are lucky, the HR department provides some guidance, but more often than not they are on their own. Luckily, conducting job interviews is not as difficult as many of the other tasks required in business. Getting to the truth about a candidate is not difficult. Imagine that you could spend a week on a desert island with the interviewee. There's no doubt that you would have a pretty good idea of what he or she was capable of at the end of the week. The challenge is coming to an equally informed opinion in approximately one hour.
One way that learning how to conduct a job interview can help you achieve that is by learning to focus on what is important. For most positions, the essential factor is whether or not the job candidate can perform the job now or with a bare minimum of training. If the answer to that question is "no" then the personality and workplace interaction issues don't really matter. Having a clear idea of what skills and experiences are necessary to accomplish the key tasks will give you a guideline for what questions to ask. As you do so, it's a good idea to go beyond simply asking the person if he or she can do something or has done that something before. Make the candidate prove it by either describing how he or she solved the problem in question or how he or she would solve it in theory. Besides offering telltale clues regarding the candidate's level of experience, forcing him or her to recount behavior gives clues to how that individual will behave in similar future situations.
Establishing technical competence is only one piece of how to conduct a job interview. To find the very best candidate, you will seek out someone who has the very best workplace interaction habits. That is to say, an employee who works well with others and has the ability to take on management and leadership roles as needed. Again, asking for examples and stories about times the candidate has dealt with problems and achieved successes relevant to the desired qualities, will yield a lot of insight into the candidate's qualifications.
The last part of learning to conduct a job interview is to get a sense of the candidate's personality. After all, this is someone who the whole team will have to work with and have in their lives for an indefinite period of time. Through simple questioning, similar to the kind of small talk that people do to get acquainted, an interviewer can get a pretty good sense of the candidate's social skills, temperament, and how well he or she will interact with strangers in uncomfortable situations. Though this isn't as deep an insight as most managers would like, it is certainly enough to help decide if the candidate should be brought back for another round of interviews.
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