Whether you recently received a promotion and are a first-time manager or you are a seasoned leader, it is important to stay up to date on current hiring trends. At EPG, we used our years of experience helping electric and autonomous vehicle clients hire top professionals to create these tips for hiring managers during the interview process. If your recruiting provider is not giving you tips in these areas, then it might be time to reconsider who you work with. A good recruiting partner doesn’t just send you resumes, they advise and counsel you on the entire hiring process.
Before The Interview
Preparation is the key to success with most things in life, interviewing and hiring people is no different. Being fully prepared before you enter the interview space is incredibly important if you want to make a good impression on candidates.
- Understand the position and its requirements. This is simple enough if you already have a background in the same field as the position you are hiring for. In the event you are unfamiliar with the position, speak with your team about the position and gain insight into their expectations and the incoming hire’s responsibilities. Ask yourself and the team, what problem will this hire solve? Then compare candidates to the answer to this question.
- Due diligence – read their resume. Do you remember an interview where the hiring manager clearly had not looked at your resume? It’s off-putting and gives a bad first impression. It may seem like a no-brainer, but fully reading a candidate’s application, including their resume and cover letter, will give you the opportunity to get to know most of their history and skill set. This will help you figure out what you need to focus on in the interview and what questions you don’t even need to ask.
- Plan the interview – questions and direction. Once you understand the job requirements and have reviewed the candidate’s information, it is time to plan out the interview. What pieces of information are you missing that you need to complete the picture of the candidate? Do you need clarification on their knowledge or skills? Are you trying to figure out if they will be a good cultural fit? Having a stock list of questions is important to guide the conversation and ensure that you leave the interview feeling like you gathered all of the information that you need.
- Test all technology, and prep the room. There is nothing more embarrassing than trying to begin an online interview and having something go wrong with the conferencing software. Making sure to set aside enough time to guarantee all technology is working the way it is supposed to, or that the room/background is well-lit and appropriate for the interview will go a long way in making you and the candidate feel more comfortable. Remove any background noise and, if it’s an in-person interview, ask the candidate if they need a water. Make them feel at ease and coveted.
During The Interview
The purpose of any interview is to make a good impression while gaining information, whether you are the interviewer or the candidate. If you wish to be an expert interviewer, knowing when you should speak and when you should remain silent is the most important skill to have.
- Small talk during an interview can be an effective way to determine a candidate’s culture fit. By engaging in casual conversation, you can gain insight into the candidate’s personality and communication style. For example, if the candidate is able to comfortably make small talk and seems to be a good listener, they may be a good fit for a company culture that values strong team dynamics. Additionally, small talk can help to put the candidate at ease and create a more relaxed atmosphere, which can lead to more candid responses during the interview.
- Ask open-ended questions. The best interviewer is one who talks less and listens more. The best way to guarantee you can get your candidate talking is by using open-ended questions. Since they require more thought than a simple yes/no question, it will give you a chance to see the way they think and communicate.
- Prepare to answer questions. Since interviews are a two-way conversation, you should be fully prepared to answer any and all questions that the candidates have for you about the company, its culture, the position, benefits, and pay.
- Treat every candidate like they could be your star talent. Some companies like to grill their candidates to see how they do under stress, others like to make them wait so they appear to be busy and important. None of these are a good idea as they make an already nerve-wracking process harder and can give a good candidate a negative impression about the company. As long as you treat every candidate as your future employee, with consideration for their time and well-being, your interview will go smoothly.
- While it may seem like you have the upper hand as the hiring manager, it’s important to keep in mind that you need to recruit top talent to join you. So whether the candidate applied to the position or a recruiter sent you their profile, you should recruit them to join your company during the interview process. This means selling them on why you like your company, position, product, culture, colleagues, etc. Find out what is most important to them and speak specifically about your company and how it can meet or exceed their career wants and needs. A good recruiting partner should be able to provide you with this information during the interview process.
After The Interview
The keyword for activity after an interview is intention. Do everything with intention – that means focus, efficiency, speed, fairness, and clarity. Now is when you pay close attention to details, make conscious decisions with sound reasoning, and provide courteous and clear feedback to your candidates in a timely manner. Lack of intention to act can lead to frustration for you and your team as the perfect candidate may slip through your fingers while you are still vacillating between choices.
- Ask for feedback from staff. While you may not grill them to their face, it is extremely important to get feedback from your staff about their feelings toward the candidates. If they interviewed the candidates with you, get their input for hiring. If they simply met in the hall, ask about their impression. If it’s an in-person interview, ask the receptionist how they felt about the person. The way they treat your current employees now gives a credible impression of how they will treat their colleagues later.
- Make reports about each candidate from your notes. Hopefully, you took amazing notes about each candidate during their interviews. Now it is time to take the best and worst aspects of each and come up with a clean comparison. Going through all the new information one more time can also help in case you forgot something important.
- Schedule time to meet with the hiring team about candidates. Ideally, this meeting should take place in a matter of hours or days following the interview. Make sure all your ducks are in a row with your candidates, particularly if there is one you have decided meets your needs. HR will need time to verify information before you can make a formal job offer to the lucky candidate.
- Respond to candidates quickly – include feedback for rejections. Once a decision has been reached, let all of the candidates know immediately. The candidate you reject today might be a good fit for another position down the road so continuing to treat people like humans will go a long way. Good offers given in a timely manner will help you get the best talent for your team, but so will timely and clear rejection letters. Giving feedback other than “we went a different route” shows you put time and consideration into the decision and gives these candidates an opportunity to improve for future interviews.
You may view hiring as a necessary evil or simply a means to an end for getting who you need for your project. However, with practice and awareness, the task can become a lot more straightforward and succesful. In addition, partnering with an experienced staffing company like EPG can make sure you are only dealing with people who are real potential fits for your needs. You can spend more time on your projects and less time worrying about screening a sea of applicants.
For a full guide on the best practices check out our article titled “How to Hire the Best Talent in the Electric Vehicle Industry”