As the economy keeps improving the recruitment of new candidates becomes more and more important. There is already a scarcity of good candidates as a large section of a generation is missing in Ireland. The candidates between 30 and 35 are scarce.
Recently a manager whom I have known for years reminded me of the importance of good interviews skills and the STAR questioning technique I had introduced to him.
Here are some important steps in an interview.
Step 1. Scrutinise.
If you are unsure regarding the candidate you would like to interview conduct a telephone interview to make sure you are going to ask the right candidate to come and meet you. Once you have selected your candidates and the interviews start make sure that the candidate is at ease at the start of the interview. Have a room ready where you can talk uninterrupted. While interviewing a candidate you should realise that what you focus on is non-verbal communication and only a third is verbal communication. Review the non-verbal communication regularly at the start, during and at the end of the interview and check what message is coming across and how does it influence your perception of the candidate.
During the interview the candidate should do most of the talking and not the interviewer. A lot of interviewers fear silence and keep talking themselves. You should realise that if there is a silence, this is not a problem, as silence works often to the advantage of the interviewer.
Ask open questions which start with the following words: what, when, who, where, why and how. These questions are difficult to answer with only yes or no and the candidate is inclined to give more elaborate answers, which gives the information you are looking for. Remember the person who asks open questions is in control!
Step 2. STAR.
In assessing candidates you should keep in mind that: –
The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour.
You should try to find out what the candidates have done during their life and career. Let them explain to you an achievement they are particularly proud of. You can then ask the following questions to analyse how they have accomplished their result. An excellent structure to analyse this is the STAR structure. STAR stands for: –
- Situation: Ask the candidate to describe a specific situation that they have experienced that could give an excellent indication of what they are capable. For instance describe the most important achievement so far in your career.
- Task: What were your tasks, responsibilities in this situation or project? Who else was involved and what were their responsibilities?
- Actions: What actions did you take to achieve results? What did you contribute to make it a success?
- Result: What result did you achieve? Was it followed through and acted upon?
Try to use these STAR questions a number of times during the interview for different situations described by the candidate. You will form an impression about a candidate after a couple of minutes regarding if the person is suitable or not. You should always check and check again and use the STAR questions to make sure that your first impression is correct and eventually find your STAR Candidate.
Step 3. Substantiate.
For some positions you can benefit by setting up a small test regarding the necessary skills for the vacant position. If you are looking for a welder, you might miss an excellent welder because he is not a good talker! A welding test will show the person’s ability in welding, which you might have missed otherwise. This test should not take more than half an hour and it will give you information which is difficult to obtain during an interview. If you are unsure about any aspect of the candidate’s suitability check which the referees the candidate has provided.
Step 4. Sleeve.
Once you have made your selection regarding whom you are going to hire write to all candidates and inform them of the outcome. If there are candidates who impressed you, keep them up your sleeve, keep their CV on file and contact them when a similar vacancy arises.