- THE MAGAZINE
The Power of an Effective Employment Interview
One of the keys to hiring and keeping good personnel begins as early as the initial employment interview. Carefully planned and properly executed, the employment interview can help you avoid hiring the wrong person for the wrong job.
There are two general goals of the employee interview. The first is to get to know the applicant and evaluate how they fit into the work environment of your business. The second is to evaluate how the applicant will perform their specific job tasks.
No matter how skilled or experienced the employee is at job task performance, if they don't fit into the work environment of your company they probably won't last. Another way to state this is: Hire first for attitude and second for skills. Skills can be taught, but attitude is another story.
In a labor-based service industry, such as cleaning and restoration, hiring the right people for the job is a critical part of building a successful business. The employee interview is a key part of identifying and qualifying the best potential employees.
The successful interview requires preparation. Set an appointment for the interview and clear your schedule for not only the interview period but for the 15-30 minute period prior to the appointment. Use this time to think about the position being filled and the type of person that best fits that position. Review the potential employee's resume and employment application, highlighting areas you wish to ask about.
When the applicant arrives for the interview, note whether or not they are on time and their general appearance. Are they dressed and groomed appropriately for working in your company and representing the image you wish to project through your staff? If the applicant is careless about these things at the interview, they will more than likely be careless about them as an employee.
The more information you have about the applicant, the more you can make an informed decision. That's why you want the applicant to do the talking. Have several open-ended questions prepared to help get things started. If you ask questions that can be answered yes or no, then those are the answers you are likely to get. These tell you very little about the applicant. Good questions to ask would be: "What do you see yourself doing five years from now?", "How do you define professional ethics?", or "How do you feel about being supervised?"
These kinds of questions tell you something about applicants and how they approach the business environment. Remember, don't talk too much. You are not the one being interviewed.
It's improper, or illegal, to ask direct questions about race, religion, age, sexual orientation, or any other factor that could possibly be viewed as discriminatory. Many times when allowed to talk about themselves, candidates voluntarily reveal a lot of information that you could not ask directly.
End the interview by asking if the applicant has any questions about the company or the job. Thank the applicant for their time and point out that you will be making your decision soon and that if they are selected, you will contact them soon. When a new employee is hired from several applicants, and those not selected call to inquire about the job, it is wise to simply say the position has been filled without getting into details of why they were not selected.
A well-planned, thorough employee applicant interview will help you select the right person for the job. Take the time to prepare and do a good job. The time spent in conducting a good interview is time well spent.
Some Sample Open-ended Questions
* Tell me about yourself?
* What is your strength?
* What area do you need to improve?
* To what type of leadership style do you respond best?
* Why do you want to come to work here?
* What are your career goals?
* If you could have the ideal job, what would it be like?