Job seekers aren't the only ones who need to work on their interview skills. As a manager, you need to be aware of how you conduct an interview, which might affect its outcome. In this competitive hiring market, which continues to show low unemployment for accounting and finance professionals, you can't afford to lose a great candidate.
Before you meet with your next round of candidates, make sure you aren't making these five major interviewing mistakes:
1. Talking too much
Of course, you're the one asking the questions at your interviews, but make sure you don't talk the whole time. Don't let a brief explanation about the company and the position turn into a monologue on your personal feelings about the firm or what a good breakfast you had. You're there to listen as the candidates give you tips as to why you should stop your search and hire them.
If there's a lull in the conversation, don't fill it with idle chatter. Give the candidate room to talk and ask questions.
2. Adding stress to the conversation
When you conduct an interview, you may be trying to weed out candidates who crumble under pressure, but you don't want potential employees to feel like you're trying to trap them with each question. If you're attempting to replicate the stress of the proposed work environment, do so by asking questions that reflect the duties of the position.
How can you communicate effectively what it's like to work at your firm? Find out How to Put Company Culture at the Heart of Hiring.
3. Asking questions the wrong way
While you may have a script of great interview questions, how you ask them makes as much of a difference as what you ask. For instance, avoid leading questions, such as, "You're skilled in complex returns, aren't you?" When you're attempting to discern competencies of an interviewee for certain tasks, seek answers about previous experience rather than hypothetical solutions or situations.
4. Appearing distracted
As a hiring manager, your office is full of distractions: phone calls, emails, research papers. But you should be sure you're giving your full attention to hiring your new financial analyst or internal auditor. It can be easy to take a quick glance at an unread email or check the time, but you need to listen to make an informed decision about each person. In addition, you don’t want to give a first-rate applicant the idea that you’re not really that interested in finding the best fit. When reviewing your interview skills, remember to turn off your computer monitor and forward your calls to your voicemail.
5. Using inconsistent criteria
To make sure you rate all people objectively, ask each one the same list of questions when you're conducting interviews. Also, base all assessment criteria on the duties and qualifications outlined in the job description, and avoid letting your personal preferences influence your hiring decisions.
Remember that conducting an interview is just one step in the hiring process, but it's an important one. Consider vetting applicants with a video interview before scheduling an in-person interview. Evaluate a candidate's business etiquette, experience, skills and professionalism, knowing yours will be evaluated at the same time.
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