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Top Ten Things You Should Know about Interview and Selection

Selecting talent is considered one of the most important decisions managers make.  The cost of a bad selection has been calculated by the Walker Institute to equal 1 to 2 times annual salary depending on the level.

Not only is the cost associated with the bad selection an issue, but so is the reputation of the hiring manager.  The most important element of the selection decision in most cases is the interview.  Interviewing is not a simple process.  Here are our top ten suggestions for insuring an effective interview and selection process.

1. Good planning and preparation.  Review all the data available on the candidate long before they are sitting in front of you.  Know what you are looking for in the candidate; don't let the candidate set the criteria.

2. Complete a job analysis.  Complete a thorough analysis of the position in advance of interviewing candidates.  You can accomplish this by checking with those familiar with and/or currently doing the job.  This way an appropriate position description can be completed.

3. Structure the interview.  Structure the interview to learn the most important aspects of a candidate's track record.  What an applicant has accomplished in the past is a better indicator of future job success than what the applicant may believe, think or know.

4. Let the applicant do the talking.  The applicant should do 80% to 90% of the talking in an interview.  If the interviewer does all the talking, what have they really learned about the applicant?

5. Use open-ended questions.  Asking open-ended questions rather than yes/no questions will get you much more information about the candidate.  Open-ended questions are harder to prepare for and they elicit much more from the candidate.

6. Follow up questions with probes.  Probing for more extensive information from candidates can tell you a great deal.  Probes are hard to prepare for and the candidate often responds spontaneously.  These responses usually are far more revealing than the original answer.

7. Take good notes.  It is very hard to remember all of the demonstrated behaviors from a candiate without taking good notes.  You may remember certain feelings or thoughts that you had but a good record of your observations at the time is most helpful when discussing the candidates with others.

8. Job fit.  It is important to insure that any candidate you hire has the requisite experience, job knowledge and skills required to successfully do the job.  Don't let this be the only selection criteria.  Also important is culture fit.

9. Culture fit.  Equally important to job fit is that of culture fit.  If there is a mismatch in terms of culture, no matter how qualified the person is, they may find it difficult to get others to support their agenda.

10. Always check references.  Studies show that one-third to one-half of all applicants lie or mislead companies about their background.  Don't accept the resume and interview experience as the final indicators ... check the facts before final hiring.

SH&A has worked with numerous organizations on their interview and selection strategy.  We help with job analysis, selection criteria development, selection and interview training and selection process evaluation.  The Effective Interview is a set of programs designed to equip hiring managers with the skills and tools they need.  Let us know if we can help you improve your selection process.

For more information, please Contact us or call 847-564-2840.

© 2007 St. Aubin Haggerty & Associates, Inc.

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