How to interview job candidates effectively

When you hear the word “job interview,” it’s likely that you automatically think about the job seeker and his or her preparations for the big meeting with a human resources manager. However, job interviews can be stressful on hiring managers as well, as any individual who has been charged with finding the right person for their company can attest. The economy has perhaps made it even more challenging for companies to undergo the laborious process of interviewing as they may receive an abundance of applications from qualified applicants.

As the demand for finance jobs continues to grow and demand exceeds supply, it’s important for managers to employ new, more effective interview tactics to narrow down the applicant pool and make sure they choose the right person for the position. Listed below are several tips employers can follow to measure the suitability of prospective workers and remain confident in their hiring decision.

1. Telephone screening
If you’re only considering two or three people for a single position, bringing them each in for an hour-long interview may be simple. However, if you’re trying to narrow down a pool of 10 to 20 candidates, pre-screening them through a telephone interview may help weed out applicants who may not be best for the position. Asking simple questions, such as “Why does this job interest you?” “Are you currently employed with another company and, if so, how quickly can begin a new job?” and “Why does your experience make you a good fit for this job?” can tell you a great deal about a person outright. It’s natural that a phone interview can be somewhat nerve-wracking for prospective hires, but if you need someone to begin soon and you’re looking at too many prospects, putting applicants under pressure may help you find more appropriate options quickly.

2. Post a spy in the office before the interview
Everyone is on their best behavior during the actual interview, but you can tell a lot about an individual when they think no one is watching. It’s not uncommon to post an employee in the elevator or lobby when the job applicant shows up or ask the receptionist how he or she was treated after applicants announced their arrival. Were they courteous? Arrogant? Did they talk loudly on their cellphone or make disparaging comments about the position? These insights can give you a more well-rounded picture of the person who might be hired and help you determine whether they will be a good fit for the company culture.

3. Test their knowledge
A job applicant may not be able to give you a run-down on who sits on the company’s board of directors, but they should be able to tell you several reasons why your company interests them and have a strong grasp of what the company does. Posing questions, such as “What first drew your interest about our firm,” and “What can you tell me about our company,” is a good way to test whether the applicant did his or her homework and is passionate about the business.

4. Allow them to ask questions
The types of questions an applicant asks can give you some insight into which aspects of the job they are interested in. Are they concerned with vacation and salary, or do they ask more thought-provoking questions about how they can best be of use to the business? While the former questions are important – everyone has to pay their bills and make ends meet – most serious candidates will prioritize their role within the company before they begin talking about compensation.