Interview Skills

By Michael Matalone

As you are probably aware, finding and motivating talent to fill your job openings is becoming increasingly difficult in today’s very competitive job market. The following will provide you some insight to the reasons why and what you can do to be more effective.

1. There’s a shortage of great talent: Software developers and sales people top the list especially if you’re in a major metropolitan area. Anyone who is worth hiring (and many that are not) is constantly being approached by recruiters about career opportunities, including your top employees!

Solution: Work on your Employer Brand. Define what we call your WOW factor. Why would anyone leave their current job and come work for you? Depending on the individual, some of these may include:

  1. Flex work schedule
  2. Great culture/work environment
  3. Opportunity to work on more challenging projects that make a difference in the world
  4. Growth opportunities (personal and professional)
  5. Opportunity to work with other smart people they can learn from and together, can accomplish a lot more
  6. Better benefits and pay although most of the above listed items trump pay as long as you are competitive!

Your WOW factor should be a brief paragraph that outlines all of these elements that you can use in all of your communications with candidates: Your career page, job Ads, emails, phone calls, interviews, etc. Ensure all of your employees know your WOW factor and believe these to be true as they are your best (and typically under-utilized) source of employee referrals.

2. Candidates have multiple job offers to consider: Candidates have options and they are trying to make as good as a decision as you are. if you do not provide a GREAT candidate experience, they will opt to go or stay, where they feel valued and appreciated.

Solution: Every step of your hiring process needs to convey that your company is a great place to work. It begins with your employer brand and then becomes obvious at every step of the process they go through. These can include:

Application Process: Minimize redundancy, keep it simple and easy. Don’t ask for basic info that may already be provided in their resume.

Pre-screening: Take steps to identify if they possess the required knowledge and skills necessary to be successful in the role. Top talent want to work with other smart people and pre-screening for these specific skills is seen as a positive step in weeding out the weaker applicants and says a lot about your company – we only hire the best!

Interviews: Be prepared, don’t wing it! Be aware of the environment they will experience and ensure it is positive, professional and well- coordinated. Ensure that all of your hiring managers take time to pre-determine what questions they will ask that are relevant to the role and identify if the candidates possess the right knowledge, skills, and behaviors.

Communication & Responsiveness: ensure you are pro-actively responding to candidates throughout the entire process, including informing them of your timing, delays, next steps, replies to their “thank you for the interview” emails or if they are no longer being considered. A bad experience will show up on Glassdoor.com and this is the first place candidates go to to check out if they want to work at your company.

3. Relying on HR/Recruiters: The ability to hire top talent is the greatest asset of the world’s greatest managers (read – First, Break All The Rules, By Marcus Buckingham). Unfortunately, too many hiring managers assume that this is the responsibility of recruiters and/or HR. Realize this; even the best HR/recruiters are eventually going to send you 2 or 3 candidates that YOU have to interview and decide who the best one is for your team, and this means that you HAVE to be as good if not better at interviewing than the HR/recruiters. The cost of a bad hire is enormous for the company and YOU as you will now have to spend the time repeating the hiring process, and training someone new – again!

Solution: Make it a priority to learn how to conduct an effective, objective interview. There are lots of books, articles/blogs and training programs available (this is my shameless plug for my services) to help you become great at interviewing.

Want to learn more about hiring top talent? Click here to download my free e-book, The Talent Gap: How to Get the Right Person in the Right Roles and sign up for a demo of the XP3 Talent System that provides role specific questions, response guidelines and a 5 point scoring system to help you make the best possible hiring decisions.