Five interview tips to streamline the hiring process

For many employers, the most complicated element of management is the hiring process. Especially when it comes to hiring for entry-level finance jobs, it's challenging to get a feel for whether your latest applicants are brilliant, or if they're just skirting by with a fantastic resume. And many myths plague the interview process – ones that leave hiring managers making offers to unqualified individuals.

But with these five tips, you can ensure that your company never stumbles on the topic of new talent. The interview process is a challenge – but with the right information, a well-developed plan, and a stringent work ethic, you can be sure that you find the right worker every time out.

Don't just interview for skill – interview for character
One of the biggest mistakes that many interviewers make is spending the entire time quizzing the applicant on their skills and abilities. Yes, it's important to know whether or not your latest employee is proficient at the job – but it's equally important to ensure that they'll fit in with your office culture.

Work ethic is a prime example. If a new employee ends up slightly unprepared for their assignment, but is dedicated to working hard, then a short training period should be all that's necessary. But if you hire a highly qualified individual whose simply isn't interested in giving your company 100 percent effort? There's no way to fix that.

Another aspect that the interview should cover is the general mood of your office. You wouldn't hire an applicant who showed up to the interview in a t-shirt and shorts, of course. That's an extreme example, but if the applicant shows up over or under-dressed, or treats the interview too formally, or not formally enough, then conversing about the tenor of your office is necessary – before you make the hire.

Pre-screen your applicants
If you're interviewing from an incredibly large pool, you could find yourself mired down in a time-wasting process. So don't be afraid to ring up each individual applicant on the phone for 15-30 minutes. You may find yourself choosing not to interview many of them after the phone call – which means you saved yourself time. After all, if you discover you have five highly qualified applicants and five relatively uninspired applicants, there's no need to push yourself through ten separate interviews.

Create a plan
Many businesses rely on a team of interviewers to brief the applicant on the different sectors of your firm. This may seem obvious, but the team should absolutely meet beforehand to establish what each individual interviewer will be covering, and exactly what they're looking for from the latest hire.

An important part of the interview process is impressing the applicant. You want to be sure that if you make a job offer, they're rushing to accept. Nothing looks more inefficient than being asked the same question multiple times by different interviewers – so ensure that the ground rules are covered in a meeting beforehand, and that the "battle plan" is well established.

The interview should be more than a conversation
This is one of the biggest mistakes that many interviewers make: they're afraid to put their applicants to the test. A conversation can go a long way toward giving you a feel for how the employee would fit into your office dynamic, but nothing works better than a full-fledged demonstration of their skills.

If an applicant is truly interested in the position, they'll be sincerely happy to show off what they know. If it's a career in finance, ask them to analyze numbers. If you're hiring a copywriter, ask them to produce a sample on the spot. If you were drafting a sports team, you would expect to watch the players try out. Give yourself the same advantage and put your applicants to the test.

Never settle
This should go without saying, but as a hiring manager, you can never make a bad hire if you stick to one principle: never settle. We mentioned earlier that it's best, for your own sake, to keep the applicant pool small. At the same time, if you're not deliberating between at least two highly qualified applicants for a given position, then you're not quite ready to make the hire.

If you've only interviewed a handful of people, and one individual stood out, you may think your ready to make the job offer – or perhaps you're in a rush, and need a new body in the office as soon as possible. Yet nothing's more costly than making the wrong hire, and having to find a new employee for the position later. Never rush, never hire anyone unless you're absolutely sure they're above the rest of the pack, and never settle – and you'll be sure to have an unbeatable staff working for your firm.