Musings from an Interviewer

I recently conducted several interviews related to openings in my organization. The interview process provides ample opportunities for improvement and I thought I would share a few observations to help interviewing for your next opening be more successful.

First, never assume an email setting up an interview has been received by your candidate. Email systems block emails all the time, especially calendar invitations. Make sure you have confirmation from your candidate that he/she is coming. Second, make sure your candidate knows what needs to be done once he/she arrives at your office. Where is the person supposed to park? How does the person get into your building? If your organization is small, is there someone to greet the candidate? If your organization is large, does the person at the reception desk even know who you are and where to send the candidate once he/she arrives? These may seem like trivial matters, but you only get one first impression (remember the candidates are interviewing you too) and you don’t want that impression to be a disorganized mess.

Make sure the candidates know what to expect during the interview process. Will you have them meet with a series of people or just one person? Are you going to ask them to take some sort of assessment? You don’t have to give out all of the details, but make sure you are clear about how much time the candidate needs to commit to the interview process.

Finally, begin with the end in mind. Sure, you have a job description and a plan for what work the candidate will be performing when he/she joins the company, but what else are you looking for? Are you looking for someone who can grow into a supervisory role in your group or is your group considered the entry point into the company where people then move into other roles throughout the finance organization? If the former, do you see the candidate being able to grow into that role? If the latter, what skills, while not necessary for the immediate job, could be beneficial to the rest of the department? In a tight labor market, you may not have a lot of candidates to chose from, but if you do, you need to be prepared to think through the differences in the candidates both for the current and future positions in the company.

What other tips, both from experienced interviewers and from job candidates, would you like to share with your colleagues?

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