Interviews are tough to do right. Even when you feel good coming out of a strong interview with a promising young client, there’s a good chance that a nagging part of you is wondering just how honest and close to the truth any of that question-and-answer was. Recruiting college students or hiring graduates for entry level positions requires an extensive amount of interviewing, and the last thing you want to do is feel as though your general process is ineffective.
The best way to address the inherent problems with job interviewing is to look them in the face and acknowledge they exist. Then you find ways to if not fix at least navigate these issues. The more you know and the better prepared you are the smoother interviews will go. Over time, you may find yourself developing a sixth sense for what makes a promising employee. Take these issues and consider the interview tips that will help you deal with them.
1. Interviews are too short and too long
Here’s the thing about most interviews: they’re both too short and too long for you to get a good handle on the individual across the conference table from you. If interviews were just a little shorter, you could rely on gut instinct alone, which tends to count for a lot in the interview process. However, after 10 or 15 minutes of conversation, those instincts get diluted by the detail-oriented discussion and rehearsed performance of question-and-answer.
Since you can’t exactly hold interviewees indefinitely while you get to know them – nor would you want to – try to find time limits that feel comfortable to you. The best solution however may be to institute an internship program at your company. Internships provide a great pipeline through which you can groom, educate and retain promising employees.
2. Predicting the future using the past
As the HR experts at TLNT.com point out, the process of interviews – not to mention job applications in general – is a matter of fuzzy fortune telling. Since you’re talking about the past during interviews, it can be hard to use this to predict what an employee might be like in the future. This is especially true of young workers. Millennials who may have only had a few jobs prior to their application could be entirely different people within the coming months.
Of course, the different people they become will be predicated on your influence. Since this will be some of their first industry experience, keep in mind that you’ll have a hand in guiding their growth and education. So, while you can’t fully rely on yesterday’s actions or choices to imagine what tomorrow’s worker will be like, you can bet there will be a difference.
3. Too many faces and names in too short a time
As though the slush pile of candidates on paper weren’t overwhelming enough, bringing in those applicants for multiple interviews can induce real fatigue – the sort that may impair your judgment.
The solution here is to slow down – provided time allows – and bring on help with the screening process. Split up resumes among various HR individuals and hiring managers, then assign everyone different tasks. Someone may check-up on references and skim social media while another conducts interviews and a third schedules them. Certain administrative tasks can be given to personnel outside HR as well.
4. Myriad outside influences
For such formal and structured meetings, interviews are actually intensely personal and can be hugely influenced by a number of outside influences. Everything from how much sleep you got last night to whether you’ve had lunch yet can influence how you feel about a candidate – and often subconsciously.
This is incredibly hard to mitigate, but you need to do you best by being aware of even the smallest prejudices. Obviously interviewees can’t be held accountable for your headache or the parking ticket you got that morning.
5. Everything’s a charade
Perhaps the most obvious and glaring problem with interviews is that – to a degree – everything is rehearsed and acted out. Just as you’re reading interviewing tips to prep and come up with stellar question, the candidates are scanning blogs for the perfect answers and then practicing those in front of a mirror. So when everything’s a ruse, how can you get around that?
According to Applicant Stack, behavioral interviewing is one option. Instead of asking personality or cognitive questions like you would in traditional interviews, this method focuses on actual examples of successes or failures in past positions. Behavioral interview questions often begin “Tell me about a time that you…” and request specifics rather than hypothetical answers.
Of course, this isn’t an entirely honest method either, and many interviewers may just prefer to tweak and alter the traditional route in their own ways. For instance, consider integrating what seems to be an ice breaker directly into a work- or industry-related question.