Some thoughts on interviewing candidates

One of the most crucial parts of talent acquisition process is the initial round - where you decide if it is worth it to evaluate this candidate on the myriad parameters you might have. This post is not for veterans or hiring managers. This is for people in junior roles who are asked to conduct some parts of the interview process.

While I am still a bit low on the totem pole in my organisation - I do get to conduct these initial rounds and some more along the process. I have also observed other people (mostly my peers) in the org doing this. And I wanted to collect some thoughts I have regarding this.

1. Remember who is being evaluated and against what

When you are in a position to evaluate someone else, it is only natural to mistake that the evaluation must be in some manner against yourself. Resist that temptation - you are looking at a potential team member and measuring them against yourself leads to nothing good. It will make you blind to some really good qualities of the candidate simply because you don't have them.

2. Questions don't come first 

It is not a great idea to mechanically go through the motions of reciting questions right away. Ask them to introduce themselves and see if you have any questions that can give them a way to talk about themselves. Being able to present yourself as you wish to, is a huge confidence booster for anyone. And treat them as you would treat a team member - yes, you are evaluating them - but think about their answers as you would do if it were a colleague. Give pause, think about why it can be a good answer, and reserve criticism for later in the call.

3. Resist the urge to grandstand

This is a continuation of point one - don't grandstand in front of the candidate. You may be really good at what you do - but there is no need to demonstrate that to the candidate.

4. No body likes feeling bad, especially after something as stressful as a job interview

Even if you get a terrible candidate - resist the tendency to let that judgment slip in your tone or behavior. May be they are absolutely brilliant but just are not having a very good day. Don't allow derision or incredulity creep in, in your tone. If you find the candidate struggling in response to a specific question, give them an easy way out and let them know they can circle back to it before the end of the call. Brain freezes do happen - be empathetic.


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