"Warm body hiring!" That is what many contractors essentially do when they do not take the time to prepare to interview job candidates, no matter whether the job is for a general laborer or crew leader. While most contractors do not purposely set out to hire "mistakes" the same end result is experienced if proper preparations and planning are absent.
I want to help your next hiring decision, and this article will outline several proven techniques to accomplish this. Remember, preparing to interview should begin long before the first question is ever asked. Consider the following preparations toward improving your next interview.
1. Develop a job profile
You should identify the exact job requirements for the job that will be needed, including needed skills, experience and expertise. This is more than a job description and should reflect actual needs for the job. This profile should answer the question, "What will this person really do in this position?"
2. Consider the team mix
What sort of person will fit best with the existing team of employees? For example, let's consider that you are looking to add another crew leader to your company who has better verbal skills. Many of your existing crew leaders seem to be more passive, less vocal and not overly assertive. Adding a leader with a more direct nature to his or her personality would strengthen the balance of the team.
3. Set minimum/maximum pay levels
What is the very minimum starting pay that you'll offer and what is the maximum that you will offer? This part of the equation is often not seriously considered until we have already interviewed candidates. Setting your pay's "Min's & Max's" will provide you with a clear picture of whom you can seriously consider hiring. If a candidate's demands are higher than your max starting pay, then cease your interviewing of such a candidate immediately. Don't hire what you can't pay for!
4. Develop an interview process
Almost any process is better than no process if you are consistent. Decide early whether you will conduct one or more interviews before making an offer to a candidate. I strongly recommend that you conduct at least two interviews and have personally found that a third interview strengthens making better hiring decisions. For each interview determine a strategy that will be pursued. For example, on the first interview you might seek to find out what are the minimum technical skills and industry experience the candidate has. If they have the minimum needs met, then a second interview might focus on how they will fit in with your company's culture and the people with whom they will work. A third interview could involve a few of your other workers so that they will get a first impression of the candidate. Sleep on your decision one night before making the offer.
5. Prepare for a focused interview
While many contractors interview and hire candidates at jobsites, I have found this to be a precursor to making poor hiring decisions. At least one of the interviews should be in a more quiet and less active environment where there are few distractions. Such an environment can often produce some awkward moments of silence, something that is good for you to "read" the honesty and thinking ability of the candidate.
Now, if you will complete the above five preparation techniques before conducting your next interview, you will feel more prepared, confident and motivated to conduct the actual interview. Such preparation is 80 to 90 percent of the effort. However, to complete the interviewing effort let's now consider a few techniques that are worth your attention.
A. Present brief company information
The interview is for you to find out about the candidate. While the candidate needs to know something about your company, its future goals, etc., resist the temptation to paint too blue of a sky. Be proud of your company but don't make it easy for any candidate to think that working for you is the easiest thing in the world.
B. Prioritize Your Questions