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One of the most popular searches on Google is the phrase, “How to interview” with over 550,000 monthly searches!

Managers and job applicants alike are looking for tips on how to interview better.

If you are a hiring manager with a job opening, the interview process is a responsibility that you don’t want to leave to chance. You need to find the right person for your job without second guessing your decision.

Here are three suggestions that will help you to prepare for the interview:

Interview Tip # 1: Take the time to prepare for your job applicant interview.

It’s not enough to just review a résumé or job application and ask questions on the fly. You need to understand the core function of the job that you are hiring for. It’s critical that you are clear on the type and level of experience as well as the depth of experience that your candidate will need to have in order to ask the best interview questions and get the answers that will help you to make better hiring decisions.

You’re literally flying blind when you don’t take the time to give some thought to what the skills and experience your job applicant will need in order to be successful in the job.

Interview Tip # 2: Create a job description in advance of your interview.

Yes, you are the supervisor, and it stands to reason that you know everything that there is to know about the job that you are hiring for. Yet, it’s easy to hire someone whom you thought was an exceptional candidate, only to learn that the job applicant did not possess a particular skill set, or that they don’t have the depth of experience that you really needed for your position.

Although it may not seem so, writing a job description is a simple exercise. You can start by making a laundry list of tasks that you’d like for your employee to be able to complete in order to accomplish your business goals. Whittle down your list even further by focusing on the work that your new employee will perform on a daily or weekly basis.

Your final job description should include just the core tasks that your employee will be responsible for. Everything else will fall under “related duties as required”. Use your completed job description to develop your interview questions.

Interview Tip # 3: Develop your interview questions prior to meeting with your job candidate.

You can’t make an accurate determination of whether your job applicant really has the skills and experience needed for your job if you don’t ask the right questions.

Use your job description as the blueprint for developing your interview questions as opposed to relying only on those questions that may occur to you during your interview.

Your interview questions should be laser focused so that you can learn from your applicant if they have the skills that are needed to accomplish your goals for the position.

Interview Tip #4: Ask the right interview questions.

Don’t ask questions that give the job candidate an opportunity to respond by saying either “yes” or “no”.

Your interview questions should guide your job applicant in a way that will require that he or she provide clear examples that demonstrate an understanding of a particular task, or how they have been able to apply their experience in a way that has helped them to be successful in their current or past positions.

Ask your candidate to give you an example from their current or past jobs that support their ability to manage employees, complete projects within deadline, or effectively and courteously interact with customers for example. This is called behavioral interviewing.

Interview Tip #5: Check supervisor references.

In our haste to move the hiring process along, it’s sometimes easier to check whatever references are available, or to skip the reference process altogether. Don’t.

Always, always, check references; preferably supervisor references. Accepting a reference list that only consists of friends or colleagues can be a recipe for problems down the line because you weren’t able to identify an employees strengths and areas for improvement; or whether there were previous performance issues that you should be aware of.

You need to understand from the supervisor’s perspective, your applicants’ work history as it relates to their skills, their experience, and their level of productivity.

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