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11 Interview Tips For Hiring Managers

​Let’s be honest…

Times have changed.

Interviews have changed.

Hiring managers: you’ve had your time with the formal panel interview –it’s time to move on.

Congratulations, by the way – as a collective you have all driven fear and anxiety into every job seeker with your da-da-da-dahhhh formal interview!! Aaaaarggghhh!!!

Sadly, hiring managers, the game has been flipped on its head… Now you are the ones being interviewed.

Interviewing style has evolved – we can all agree on that I hope. However, the only tips I ever see are interviewing tips for job seekers – where are the interview tips for hiring managers?!

The thought occurred to me whilst riding on the bus to the city (doing my bit for congestion and the environment).

So, without further ado I present:


1. Go for an exploratory conversation

Avoid an uptight formal interview. Suggest a more informal exploratory conversation, perhaps over coffee. It’s far more personal and allows for free-flowing conversation providing a great opportunity for rapport and a very natural and human interaction that will only increase the appeal of your business and yourself.

2. Provide a company overview

The interview is as much about you promoting your business these days than it is about vetting your prospective candidate. Therefore, be comfortable in promoting a succinct overview of your business and what the opportunity is. You don’t have to sell in the traditional sense but you need to show passion and enthusiasm because that’s what people buy into. You don’t need to suddenly fake being an extrovert – even the most adamant of introverts can show passion for something. If you believe in your business, they will too.

Ask yourself:
  • Why did you join (or create) the business?

  • What do you do differently to the competition?

  • Why would someone enjoy working with you?

  • Recite your company values. It’s important they hold true to these too.

 3. Avoid the Q&A session

Engage your candidate in conversation, get them to open-up – you’ll gain far more appreciation for who they are and what they’re all about. Q&A puts pressure on the candidate to answer your specific question in a concise and timely manner and makes for an awkward interaction, with no great opportunity to build rapport.

4. Sell to their need

By engaging the candidate you’ll understand what motivates them and essentially what they’re looking for. Armed with this information you’ll be able to promote those aspects of your business throughout the conversation, but be a little subtle e.g.:

If they say they’re looking for X, Y and Z don’t just but in and say “well we do X, Y and Z” be more personal and tactful e.g. “that’s encouraging that you’re looking for X, Y and Z because it’s exactly why I joined the business. When I was in your position, I found that….” You’ll find more commonality with the candidate which they can easily buy into.

5. Don’t grill your candidate!

I have heard several interviewing candidates state that they were grilled in the interview. Interestingly the hiring manager was subsequently satisfied the person was right for the job and made a job offer… but the candidate ended up accepting an offer from another business.

Of course you will want to ensure you’re properly vetting the prospective employee but you have to do it with tact. Grilling them will only put them off.

6. Drop the ego

Even if you or your business are the pinnacle in the industry, what do you have to gain by being egotistical about it? There is simply no benefit to be gained and, moreover, consciously minded people will perceive you as small minded and insecure… ouch.

Humility is the essence of a great person.

7. Steer clear of cliché questions

If you do feel the need to ask a tricky question like “What are your weaknesses?” aim to be less direct whilst also highlighting a positive about your business, e.g.:

“We put a lot of resources into training – what areas would you be looking for some support?”

8. What’s essential?

Be clear in your mind what is a must-have skill or personality trait that any applicant needs to have. Know what you are willing to bend on and what you’re not. Be realistic in what options you have internally to develop the candidate.

9. Show them around/meet the team

So often an interviewing candidate is ushered into the meeting room, they interview and they’re ushered out… missed opportunity! That person will still have no idea what it’d be like working inside your business, why not show them around (if they want to – some people prefer a confidential conversation for fear their manager will find out) and maybe introduce them to people in the team they’d likely get along with. Why not even take them out for a beer – what better way for all parties to be assured on one another?

10. It’s a PR exercise

No matter what the suitability of the candidate is, people talk. Make sure whomever you meet leaves with a positive impression of your business. You’d be surprised how many people they talk to post interview all of which can positively or negatively impact the perceptions of your business. Play the long game, any candidate could very likely know someone you really need and perception is everything in the recruitment war.

11. Arrange a conversation with a future colleague

Why not arrange for your candidate to speak to one of your likeminded (and trusted!) employees to provide them with a decent understanding of what it’s really like working within your company? The additional context and rapport built with a potential colleague helps significantly in eliminating any concerns and help sway them on board with a positive appraisal of your business.

Outside of interview tips you need a proposition that people value:
  • Be human

  • Continually improve your working environment

  • Utilise the NDP (No Dickhead Policy)

  • Listen to your employees and incorporate the “Stay Interview”

So, hiring managers – good luck and thank you for improving our lives through the world of work.