As a manager, interviewing is one of the most important things you do. You can’t build a great team that will reach great objectives if you don’t hire great people to be on that team.
Interviewing is the first step to hiring those great people.
When you interview someone, you are trying to figure out if they are the right person to help solve the problem or gap in your team.
You establish this through questions and conversation and most importantly, concentration. We expect candidates to be highly engaged in the interview process. It is reasonable, therefore, that the hiring manager should be present in body and mind as well.
Before you step into an interview, take a few minutes to put aside the million things that you are working on. Think about the role (and problem) this person might be able to fix. Take another look at their resume.
Put down your phone, square your shoulders and head in to shake hands and say hello.
Try to start with an open ended question as an ice breaker. “Tell me about yourself” is a bit tricky. It can lead to a really long answer if the person is nervous. It also could sound like you are covering up the fact that you did not take time to look at the person’s resume.
- How did you get started in this industy?
- Why are you interested in our company?
- What have you heard about our technology?
These are all open ended but with relatively controlled answers that will give you some insight into the the person right from the get-go.
Pay attention. Call out something interesting. Ask follow up questions. This is your chance to figure out how they think and how they might fit with you and your team.
If you are, at this point, rolling your eyes because interviewing is a drag and you never meet interesting candidates, then get with your recruiting folks and get that fixed.
The world is full of interesting people. Find them, talk to them and hire them.