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Hiring staff can be laborious for managers and business owners, especially those who begin the search without adequate preparation. Since the average interview lasts approximately one hour, the selection process should start before an appointment is ever scheduled. Carefully reviewing resumes, and pre-screening applicants by phone, can save a lot of time. Once a face-to-face meeting transpires, encourage honest, straightforward answers by creating a relaxed atmosphere for the interview. If the applicant feels comfortable, he or she is more likely to offer candid responses.
Before meeting an applicant, it is a good idea to have a list of questions prepared. Be sure to include the basic ones, such as employment history and education, but also inquiries that prompt more than a yes or no answer. The questions should be challenging, even hypothetical, so that the interviewer can better assess the personality of the candidate, judging by the creativity and logic of the responses. When hiring staff, use caution about asking anything too personal, however. In many jurisdictions, certain laws prohibit queries that relate to a person’s race, religion, age, and other protected information.
When hiring staff, be sure to thoroughly review the job description with the applicant, along with the benefits package offered by the company, if applicable. Work hours, and most importantly, expectations, should be discussed. Giving the applicant plenty of time to ask any questions or address concerns that he or she may have often avoids misunderstandings later. As much as an interviewer may like an applicant during the first meeting, it is generally a good idea to meet with several individuals before making a decision. Sometimes, employers hire a candidate on the spot, only to regret it later.
During the evaluation process, checking professional references can be quite helpful. In some areas, however, questions that can be asked of former employers may be restricted to information such as the time period the individual worked for them, starting and ending salary, and whether or not the former employee is eligible to reapply for a position within the company. In cases like this, where feedback is limited, it at least confirms the history given by the applicant. If a former employer indicates that the ex-employee is not eligible for re-hire, it does not always mean the reason was a result of his or her wrong-doing, but it may be a red flag, and is certainly worth asking the candidate about, to see if there is a reasonable explanation.
Once an employer has narrowed down the selection between the top contenders, a second interview with each applicant is usually a good idea. This can be an excellent opportunity to introduce other managers, or even staff members, to the individuals under consideration. Including key personnel in a candidate’s second interview allows those people to participate in the final decision, and aids in a smoother transition when hiring staff.