So you’re growing your team. Congratulations! Soon, it will be time to vet candidates in an interview process that will determine the best person for the role. Interviews are vitally important, but by their nature, they’re time-consuming and can also be frustrating – especially when the process drags on. These 5 interview prep tips can help hiring managers like you save time and get to the right hire faster.
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1. Do your homework
As the hiring manager, it’s on you to have a clear idea of what you’re looking for before you start. While you might base a job description for a backfill position on the work of the previous employee, this is a great time to adapt the role description to your future needs. What are some qualities the previous person lacked that you want to make sure the next person has? Seeking input from others in your company is a good idea but in the end, this new hire will be your responsibility so you will carry the lion’s share of this process.
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Thoroughly scope and describe the role before you even write a job description. Use a management text like For Your Improvement to define tasks and aptitudes. Not only will it help you in the recruitment process, it also gives you a head start on the development of the successful hire by helping you identify areas where candidates match your expectations and those where they could improve.
Use the role description to develop questions for both the phone screen and the in-person interview.
While you might base a job description for a backfill position on the work of the previous employee, this is a great time to adapt the role description to your future needs.
2. Timing is everything
Plot your internal schedule. How long will phone screens take and can you delegate some of them? When can you do in-person interviews? Ideally, when would this person start work? When can you onboard them and who needs to be part of that process? Clear your own scheduling – hiring top candidates is no snap and deserves your attention.
Gather your interview team quickly and don’t let their lack of availability delay the process. If you do, you could lose your best candidates by dithering.
3. Take phone screens seriously
Prepare your questions and schedule time around the phone screen to prepare and record notes. Make sure your questions cover all your key requirements – the rest of your notes should tell you what sets them apart. Are they particularly skilled in one part of the job? What can you tell about how they will work with the rest of your team? What are their goals and how do they help you get to yours?
Make sure your questions cover all your key requirements – the rest of your notes should tell you what sets them apart.
4. What are some good questions to ask in a job interview?
By the end of the in-person interview, you should be able to answer these questions:
- Can they do the job?
- How well will they work with the people on your team?
- What about them makes you want to not let them go?
- What support and accommodations would they need to thrive in one, six, and 18 months?
5. Tailor your interview for sales and marketing excellence
There are two sets of questions that set sales and marketing interviews apart from interviews for other kinds of jobs: Skills-specific questions, and more interpersonal ones.
Success in both professions is highly reliant on the candidate having a robust set of skills to scope opportunities, understand their customer, and leverage tools and tactics to influence a sale. In an interview, you should ask questions that ask them to describe and apply those skill sets to the customers and circumstances at your organization.
The interpersonal questions are vital because how sales and marketing professionals do their jobs is just as important as what they do. We work under pressure in small teams to develop both methodical and creative solutions to difficult problems. As the hiring manager, you should know how your candidates interact with others, solve problems, deal with competing priorities, pull together for the benefit of the company, and value success.
Frontload your interview process for success
The more you plan your interview process ahead of time, the smoother it will be for you, your team, and the successful candidate. Keep your eye on the prize. An excellent, successful hire who is also a good fit is a solid investment of time and energy.