Tips to Help with the Interviewing Process

The interviewing process can be exciting as well as daunting. Having reached the point of making a new hire; you no doubt feel a sense of accomplishment. However, you may be worried about whether this new team member will share the same values and work ethic as you and/or your current team members. Below are a few key points to keep in mind during the hiring process. This list, while not all inclusive, will provide a great foundation for helping ease what can be a very time consuming and sometimes frustrating experience.

  • Select a candidate that is not only skilled, but also a great fit for your company culture. This is true even for online or virtual businesses.  As a virtual business owner, you no doubt have in mind the type of “experience” you’d like potential clients or customers to have when they call your company or visit your website. This is one aspect of your “company culture”.  Make sure you’re able to clearly communicate to applicants the culture of your business or brand.  Then listen carefully as the applicants explain how they would add value to this culture and work to enhance it as well as the user experience.
  • Discuss real business concerns or problems that you and your team have had to deal with and ask the candidate how they would handle the various situations. Don’t simply ask how they handled a problem with a prior employer. Your business is unique and you’ll want to make sure that they can handle the problems that are unique to your business. Present a few scenarios and then don’t coax the candidate for the right answer, simply allow them to be as transparent as possible in describing what they would do in that situation. This part of the interviewing process is very important and can be an eye opener. You may find out right away that a candidate is ready to “hit the ground running” or just the opposite. If you don’t have time for a lot of training, doing a bit of role-play using real company scenarios is invaluable.
  • Let’s say the interview has gone extremely well and you have a good feeling about the candidate, what’s next? The “CHECKS” as I like to call them. Whether you are simply doing an employment reference check and criminal background check; or you have to do fingerprinting along with a credit check, do not neglect these “checks” based on mere sentiment or a great interview. You want to make sure you’re hiring someone who has a good track record and is who they present themselves to be. This is especially true if they will be working with young people or confidential or fiscal matters.

Make sure you take the time to write thought provoking interview questions. The answers a candidate provides to well thought out questions will distinguish great candidates from good ones. Allow time for the candidate to ask questions once the interview is over. This will also allow you to get a glimpse of the applicant. The questions they ask may indicate that they’re confident in their communication with you or you may find that they are only concerned with salary. In any event, don’t interrupt and listen to their questions carefully. Then be sure to answer as thoroughly as possible. Hiring can be a bit challenging, but the reward of on-boarding a stellar team member and growing your company is well worth the effort. Feel free to share your interviewing tips in the comments section!

This is Shilonda Downing, signing off for Virtual Work Team LLC!

12 thoughts on “Tips to Help with the Interviewing Process

  1. As always, great tips! Having gone through the process of interviewing job candidates, I can’t stress enough how critical it is generate some thought-provoking questions. It also shows you how quick the candidate can think on their feet. It’s also important to make the candidate to feel relaxed. I’ve witnessed HR managers grill even the best job candidates, making them feel uncomfortable. Don’t come across as cold. Be warm and inviting.

    1. Daniel that’s exactly why I included “asking thought provoking questions” as a truly important tip. It helps the interviewing process to move along successfully and helps you learn much more about the candidate sitting before you.

      Shilonda Downing
      Virtual Work Team LLC

    1. Howdy Kay!

      Thanks for the compliment and please feel free to share this with your client who is a recruiter. It’s my pleasure to share knowledge. Thanks again!

      Shilonda Downing
      Virtual Work Team LLC

  2. Shilonda,
    These are some great tips! I recently went thru the interview process, looking for new accountants. You make a great point about asking thought provoking questions. This is a great way to really find what the person is thinking and their answers can tell you a lot about the kind of person they are and about their personality.

  3. This is a very important post. I hope anyone who has an employee or is thinking of hiring an employee will take Shilonda’s advice.

    As a HR consultant, I can not stress the importance of checking references and backgrounds. It is the responsibility of the employer to do their due diligence in making sure they know as much as they can about their new employees. In fact, I am dealing with a real life situation right now where a client hired an employee with a history of misconduct. They would have learned about the employee’s past had they run a proper background check and actually contacted more than1 reference. Don’t go on a gut feeling alone when hiring someone make sure you check their past! It’s the best predictor of future issues.

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