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What Hiring Managers Should Look for in the First Interview

The Betts Team
June 6, 2016

Interviews have become outdated. With streamlined resumes and LinkedIn, a potential employee’s background, accomplishments, and education are all readily available. So what should hiring managers focus on in their first interview if not this information? Hiring managers should ask themselves the following questions about the candidate:

1. Did they come prepared?

One of the first things a hiring manager should look for in an interview is whether or not the job seeker is prepared. Do they have copies of their resume? Are they poised to take notes during the interview? Have they done their research on the company? Starting an interview with direct questions about their interest in your company is a quick way to see how invested a candidate is. It is easy to discuss education and professional background, but focusing on an interviewee’s understanding of the company, product, and mission gives a hiring manager much more valuable information. Finding a potential employee that is eager to dive in, understands the in’s and outs of your product, and aligns with your values is the goal of an interview. Skipping through the information you can learn on a resume ensures a hiring manager will get the most out of their time with the job seeker.

2. Are they willing to learn?

Every employee should be willing to learn. If your candidate seems eager to hear more about the in’s and out’s of your company and your product, this indicates that they are open to learning more. To truly be the best at a position means you have to discover the best way to do that job. No role is exactly the same as another. Having experience in the industry and field is one thing, but knowing that taking on a new position will require additional effort to master is another. Find a candidate that is excited about learning new techniques and processes as a means to excel.

3. Do they have closing ability?

If you’re hiring for a sales position, start looking for sales skills right away. Did the job seeker close you? Did they outline concrete next steps? Do you feel confident in their ability to build rapport and persuade? Although you’re leading the interview, the candidate still has the opportunity to demonstrate these attributes. Entering the first interview with this question in mind will make sure that hiring managers are looking for the right fit for a specific role. Although an interview can bring in a great candidate that aligns with a company, that doesn’t necessarily mean the position is the perfect match. Outline ahead of time, the attributes and abilities essential in your future employee and look for those throughout the first interview.

4. Will they follow-up?

If a candidate asks for a business card and mentions follow-up, that is a great sign that they are seriously interested in your company. Being able to establish this interest after the first interview helps hiring managers bring back only serious candidates for additional rounds. If a job seeker doesn’t explicitly mention following-up, that doesn’t necessarily indicate that they don’t plan to do so. Candidates that send a thank you note within 24-hours are the most likely to accept a second round interview.