How to Interview Candidates: Please Return your Seats to the Upright Position

The simple fact is that sitting on the employer side of the desk can really numb you over time to the art of attracting ‘A’ level players to your team. Don’t worry, you’re not alone and there is help available (insert wink here. )  Time has a funny way of wearing us down and sometimes wearing us out! We start our careers fully alive and ready to tackle challenges and obstacles with zest- and then add 8 to 20 years of challenges and the zest is gone, we’re on auto pilot, and we rarely think new thoughts or engage our brains. We just repeat what we said the last time the scenario came up.

If it’s not broken…don’t fix it, right? Hmm. Well, maybe sometimes.

The problem arises when it’s your turn to interview a candidate for an important role in your company. You’ve interviewed plenty, you know what to ask and what not to. If you forget you can just run a quick Google search on how to interview candidates, and presto-change-o there’s your answer: a pre-fab list of boring interview questions. Now all you have to do is to get busy doing your normal job, answering emails, going to meetings, sitting in on conference calls and working in the occasional game of “Angry Birds”… oh, and holy cow, it’s 2:00, my interview should be here now…

Can you see how this really is the truth of how many folks “prepare” to interview a candidate? Can you also note how different this is from how a candidate (a really smart A level candidate) would prepare? How do you think they will feel after leaving a meeting with you and answering the most boring questions by an equally unprepared interviewer?

I can tell you, because I deal with this weekly. (Now in fairness, many of our clients do a FABULOUS job of preparing and evaluating candidates through the interview process… so if that’s you, kudos. Keep up the great work!) The clients that do a poor job of preparation however, leave a big risk on the table. The risk is obvious: what will it cost you to miss out on the right hire? The guy or lady that could really make a difference for your organization? The person that you DON’T want going to your competition?

Yes, folks, that’s what it boils down to. You have a choice- you must prepare thoroughly to conduct an effective interview and in order to do so, you simply must engage your brain. Come off of auto pilot and put yourself in the interviewee’s shoes. What do they need to know about you in order to make a good decision (I’m not talking about persuading here, I am talking about informing- painting a clear picture). Think about what you would ask if you were interviewing- be prepared to share that information. Think about what is really required to be successful in this role. Ask logical questions to gain information in that regard.

For more on preparing for an interview (and snagging a great ‘A’ level player) stay tuned!

Lauren Goodson, Founder and President of Cornerstone Recruitment Group and Career Expert Academy  is a nationally renowned expert in Job Search Strategies, Career Coaching and Hiring for the Professional audience. She has helped thousands of job seekers to achieve their potential and grow their career.  Through ,  Lauren has redefined professional job search training by establishing an all-in-one resource for extensive and exceptional expert information.  Be sure to visit for more info.

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