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Interview Tips

Advice in getting the most useful bits and pieces from your potential hire

I guess it goes without saying that the interview process is one of the most important steps in recruitment. HR managers may do away with some steps, like the skill exam, personality test, as well as some requirements like the references or maybe even school transcripts.

But never the interview. After all, this is where you come face-to-face with the guy whose resume sounded like everything you dreamed of in an employee, someone who your boss will keep praising you for hiring. This is where you find out, at least to a certain extent, if the work truly matches the candidate, just as the job ad matches the resume.

Which is exactly the reason why every recruiter takes this opportunity to find out everything professionally vital about the guy. Smart recruiters know that its not just a matter of finding out whether the candidate has the skills; it's a matter of knowing for sure that the person can do the job right. Here are some tips to getting the most info about the candidate:

Don't forget tradition-but don't forget the resume either.

Questions about the candidate's strengths, weaknesses, intentions, goals etc., the ones nearly ALL recruiters use, should never be forgotten. Take heed, though; if the answer is in the resume, don't waste the candidate's time by requesting a run-through-again. If you want to know more about a certain item - for instance, a certain skill highlighted in the resume - ask for an elaboration on training, an example of achievement in this field, or maybe something more useful and specific than "are you a good Oracle Database Administrator?" Before the interview, read the resume carefully.

Go deeper.

While it's true that using the traditional set of interview questions is a good way to size up the candidate's skill and intentions, that doesn't mean that the interview should end there. Keep in mind that the hire isn't just about getting someone with the right skills - its about finding the right person to fit the job, the company and the people he'll be working with. Its about finding someone who can do the job right. At that, feel free to ask things like personal hobbies, interests, as well as some queries on his work style, his attitude to certain types of people, etc. Get clues on his attitude towards the kind of work you'll be offering him as well as some bits and pieces on how he's performed when faced with specific problems. Get into his mind - see whether he's got the know-how to use the skills in his resume with finesse.

Don't antagonize the candidate.

Some recruiters think that the best way to see whether a candidate can operate well under pressure is to be crabby during the interview. The recruiter will chuckle, raise an eyebrow (even at the right answers), frown at the candidate and think of other ways to see whether this guy's got the confidence and the cool to operate under pressure. While it may be true that you can sometimes weed out the weak ones by burning them in the Interview From Hell, you could also be driving away excellent pros who just didn't expect to be "treated this way." Also, when you antagonize a candidate, that person will either be too busy trying to be agreeable with you to tell the truth, or could be turned off by your attitude. Be nice. Remember, if the candidate feels comfortable enough to tell you the truth, you'll find out a lot more useful information.

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