Tips For Weeding Out The Professional Interviewee

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The pile of resumes flooding your inbox is growing by the minute. You open each one, scan down the highlights, and make a snap judgment. Maybe ten percent of the candidates get a call for an interview. You’ve been preparing for these meetings over the last two weeks. It’s going to be tough to find just the right person, and there’s the question that always hangs in the back of your mind, are these candidates even really qualified for this position?

Even the best managers have been fooled in the past and have ended up with a bad hire (thank goodness for those 90-day evaluations!) How can you discern a professional interviewee from a truly professional candidate? Here are several areas that can help you  craft interview questions during the process to discern whether or not you are in fact interviewing a great candidate, or just a professional interviewee.

THE PAST

More leeway has been given in the recent economy when it comes to having a perfect job history. It’s almost impossible. Aside from any obvious gaps that may be related to downsizing or something similar, how many jobs has the candidate held in the last five years? A history with short-term positions may indicate even though the person convinced someone they were right for a particular job, they haven’t quite found the right fit.

LISTEN

Candidates are often taught to learn about the company and the position for which they are applying. Listen closely. Are they repeating something verbatim from your website? This could indicate he’s simply following the rules. Pay attention to how they’re recalling the information. If it sounds rehearsed, it probably is. A more free-flowing interpretation is more natural, showing the interviewee has processed the information and made it his or her own.

MIX IT UP

We all know the standard interview questions: strengths, weaknesses, how someone has led a team, accomplishments. Get creative with how you ask these questions, or do a team interview to gather a variety of perspective and questions. Catching a professional interviewee out of their natural habitat of one-on-one will show who’s in it because they truly care.

RESEARCH ON YOUR OWN

Most candidates are looking at your organization’s website. Are you looking at theirs? Web searches, videos, even social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn may share more with you than you’ll ever learn in an interview. And for fun, maybe reference something you learned about them in your research to see how they’ll respond.

Because the pool of candidates never seems to dry up, it’s time for those who make hiring decisions to get innovative in their techniques instead of embracing the status quo. If you embrace the norm, you’re going to get the norm. Your organization needs someone creative and unique. Outside of certain legalities, there are no rules when it comes to interviewing someone, so don’t be afraid to color outside of the lines. You may be surprised with the sort of employees you begin to attract.