The following is an extract from various discussions and experiences of professionals from both side of the table, the interviewees and the interviewers
Seeking good opportunities is something we all do. Sometimes we do it for career enhancement, other times there are financial motivations. There are no boundaries attached to career hunting. We see a lot of people seek opportunities abroad while doing perfectly okay at their native job. This is a cycle which runs throughout the year. The organizations refer to it as turnaround; which means that they understand the phenomena.
Sometimes companies make it their prime objective to retain employees at any cost. Other times, the procedure is to hire resources when the need arises, and keep the turnaround in progress. This way companies can have fresh resources and control costs, a very common practice in Pakistan IT industry. In any case, this whole process relies on one critical activity, the interviews.
Interviews: They’re Also About The People Who Conduct Them
If we search around the internet, we would find a lot of material on how to create CV and how to be presentable in interviews, etc. On the contrary, we may not find much on how to conduct an effective interview. In Pakistan, the weight of this context slides towards the interviewee and not the interviewers.
In my experience and several discussions with professionals across networks, we have come to the conclusion that just like candidates prepare for the interviews, the interviewers should also prepare themselves but evidently this is not the case in Pakistan.
Here are five pointers which I believe interviewers should and should not do while conducting an interview:
1. Please Come Prepared
Just like interview candidates are weighed down regarding interview preparations, we are somehow falling short of putting up guidelines for the interviewers. Many times it is noted that the interviewers are not prepared as they should be.
Mostly it is clear that the interviewer has looked at the CV for the first time, even if the interview call was made a week before. In other cases, it is apparent that the interviewer does not belong to the same career line as the interviewee is and hence, the unwanted gap results in unrelated questions and often times tense arguments too, which eventually results in a deadlock for hiring process.
Smart interviewers prepare themselves before conducting critical interviews. They make themselves aware of the CV in their hands and create a perception of the candidate, so that they can create good communications lines. They also note critical questions and gaps within the career path of a candidate.
Often, the HR department helps out an interviewer in regards to questions they should ask, and also provide pre-printed data forms to assist as tools during detailed interviews. But the critical career oriented and technical line of questions is dependent on the interviewer and how he / she ask them. So it is easier said than done.
2. Put Up Milestones
A good interviewer (unless required so) does not start off right away. He preps the interviewee for upcoming questions. The candidates as we all know are usually nervous within the first few minutes of the interview and here, a good interviewer can put the candidate in a comfortable position first.
The best way to do that is to have introductions, casual talk regarding some current affairs, or asking about hobbies and family. Ask if the interviewee wishes to have some tea, coffee or water. This eases the tensions and facilitates that normal breathing process.
An interviewer can then put up milestones, which is sort of a guided tour to what they are going to ask and how the interview is structured. This way the candidate knows what’s coming up next and prepare accordingly, while the interviewer can get the best answers and can analyze the potential of the candidate.
3. Don’t Be Judgmental
Everyone has their own personal lives, success, failures, financial, career and education qualifications. While going through a CV, it is almost very easy to acquaint yourself with the candidate’s professional and sometimes personal life. It is at this point that pre-judgment and speculations can cloud the mind of an interviewer and the questions can cross the boundary of being professional to personal.
What you really need to do is to prepare a line of questions that can reveal those gaps in the CV. The smartest question to counter judgmental behavior is to ask the candidate to tell what is not in the CV. What you are really good at.
Mostly these areas are about Job tenures, take home salaries, and the reasons to leave the previous job.
4. Hire Characters As You Can Always Train The Skills
Each business has a different set of standard processes and technical tools on which it operates. Mostly these tools and practices are based on some international standard or certified products. At the time of the job posting, the ads usually mention this clearly. In case of technology jobs, the tools and development languages really matter. Other times, degree and qualification play their roles.
With this sort of competitive market, a hiring company can have a number of potential candidates with the same set of technical skills. This makes the selection process jump back to square one.
Here the real challenge is to identify the right character and human based skills. Good interviewers, besides analyzing the technical side, also evaluate the candidate on these skills. Some of them even weighs these skills more than the technical ones. The reason is simple: you can train them for technical aspects but you cannot untrain them from their bad habits.
5. Know Why You Are Doing It
The interview process is not something which is done in a matter of minutes or hours; it usually takes days to complete the whole process, which starts right from the job posting to the very call made by the HR department regarding an appointment.
During the time when the candidate is giving the interview, they are often put to second opinions by the interviewer. This usually happens because the primary interviewer feels that the candidate is pulling short on some specific facts or skills – or – it happens when interviewer realized that the candidate is not suitable for the given job, but is ideal for another opening in the company.
In either case, the interviewer should be prepared to handle the candidate appropriately because sometimes, it become frustrating for the interviewee to be shifted from one seat to another and reply to redundant questions.
Human resource selection is a critical process for an organization. Any slightest glitch in the matter can result in hiring of a wrong resource for a job which can cost millions to the company.
The HR department’s work is not a piece of cake. Their organized behavior, data management, and people networking skills are the key elements for selecting the right brand of human capital.
On the other hand, they rely on senior experts on the matter of decisions regarding hiring and firing. Here, professionals who conduct interview must show responsibility and self-management, because what their words say on the remarks section, will be considered final, and that can make a lot of difference in a job seeker’s life.