Interview Tips for Hiring Managers
In the past, INT team members have written articles on how to have a successful interview for candidates, but we have never taken this approach from a client perspective. Having a successful interview does not just include the candidate being interviewed, but it also includes the technology hiring manager conducting the interview. There are many steps and precautions to take when conducting a successful interview. In this blog, technology hiring managers will find the best tips and advice for conducting a winning interview.
Preparing for the Interview
When properly preparing for an interview, it is so important that the hiring manager has a great understanding of the job description so that they can know not just what is needed from a candidate to be a perfect fit, but also what would be required to simply “get the job done”. Your company is of course looking for the complete package when hiring, but that isn’t always a realistic possibility, so you want to make sure you know which boxes HAVE to be check, and which ones are “nice to haves” before a candidate even comes in for the interview. This is done by both carefully reviewing the job description, and by having thorough conversations with direct supervisors and team members of the position that you are hiring for.
Another thing a technology hiring manager should be aware of is the day-to-day of the position. Knowing the ins and outs of the position outside of the job description is vital because you want to be able to answer those questions when the candidate asks them. Gain knowledge on the team they would be working with, what they would accomplish on a day-to-day basis, the environment they will be working in, etc. These are things that may not be listed in a job description, but are very important for the candidate to know.
Referring to what I mentioned at the beginning of this section, it’s important to be able to check boxes during the interview; however, the hiring manager should also remember to be present and in the moment. Really listen to what the candidate has to say about their experience and do not ignore transferable skills. When discussing with the candidate, you may find out something that was not in their resume that could be applicable to the position you are hiring for. Overall, checking all of the boxes from the job description is desirable , but be aware of any transferable skills that are mentioned by the candidate that may allow them to perform and even excel in a role that they may not be a “perfect match” for on paper.
During the interview, hiring managers should refrain from asking what we call “gotcha questions”. As a technology hiring manager, you need to keep the perspective that you are trying to get someone into this position, rather than trying to eliminate a potential candidate who is not the right fit. If you walk into an interview with the mindset of not hiring the wrong person, there’s the possibility of missing out on the right person for the job. It’s best to stay away from these questions because you are going to end up missing out on the candidate who is fully capable of doing this job.
These “gotcha questions” are used to keep the candidate on their toes, but it’s also important to keep in mind during the interview that the candidate is nervous. For instance, a candidate may misinterpret a question or simply answer it wrong due to nerves. It’s important for technology hiring managers to be very clear when asking questions. If a question is answered incorrectly, rephrase the question so the candidate knows exactly what you are asking, and see if they are able to answer correctly. An incorrectly answered question doesn’t necessarily mean they didn’t know the answer, or have weak communication and critical thinking skills, a lot of the time you really can chalk it up to the inherent stress of an interview!
We are currently living in a candidate driven market, so companies are being interviewed just as much as the candidate. Technology hiring managers need to prepare and be able to sell their team and the position to make the right candidate want to accept the offer. If you take the time to prepare, you are on your way to conducting a successful interview.
Phone Screen vs. Video Call
The main, and obvious, difference between a phone screen and a video call is that you can physically see the candidate in a video call. Video interviews can be more difficult than a phone screen and in-person interview for many reasons. For instance, it’s hard to maintain eye contact over video, you worry about your background and technical issues that may occur, background noise, etc. On the other hand, it can also make the interview more comfortable for both the technology hiring manager and the candidate because you are able to put a face to a name. This helps with rapport building because you are able to see physical gestures and facial expressions. In this case, a video call may put the candidate at ease because they can see the hiring manager, whereas over the phone, a candidate is unable to see these small gestures.
A technology hiring manager should really decide whether they would like to use a phone screen or video call based on their own comfort on video, and their ability to manage the process smoothly. How well can you speak over the phone? How well do you speak on camera? If you don’t necessarily work well in front of the camera, avoid an even more stressful situation by choosing to interview over the phone. If you are comfortable on camera and work better face-to-face, than a video call is the better choice for you; just remember that isn’t the case for everyone and plan to give a candidate a little more leeway in regards to things like facial expressions, eye contact, and confidence.
What to Pay Attention To
One of the biggest things to look for as a technology hiring manager is if the candidate is asking follow-up questions throughout the interview. When a candidate asks questions, it shows that they are enthusiastic about the position. Someone who is enthusiastic on day one is more likely to stay in a job, learn on the job, pick things up quickly, and overall be successful. Enthusiasm and excitement level are somethings to really pay attention to throughout the interview.
As a technology hiring manager, it’s also important to take note of any red flags that come up during the interview. Taking note of these is important because it allows you to review them later and reevaluate if they really are red flags. For example, if a candidate exhibits poor eye contact and you consider that a red flag during the interview, there’s a chance you look back at a later date and narrow that down to the candidate just being nervous. If the red flag was a poorly answered question about a specific technology, you can reach out to the candidate at a later time to clarify, or possibly even decide that it is something you can work with rather than simply remembering there was a “red flag of some type” during the interview. Taking these notes comes to both your benefit and the candidates.
As previously mentioned, transferable skills are something you should pay attention to and take note of. Transferable skills help a technology hiring manager fill a hard to fill position because it is looked at from an out-of-the-box angle. 90% of the time, the person who has done exactly what the job entails is the person who just left that job. Take note of transferable skills that can be applied positively to the position you are trying to fill.
Corporate Culture and the Hiring Decision
Depending on your company, it may or may not be important to consider the corporate culture when making a hiring decision. If you company’s culture is very tight knit that requires everyone to always be on the same page, then you need to consider finding a candidate that fits that role. If your corporate culture is very diverse and open to a wide array of personality types and work styles, then it may not be as important to find someone that “fits in”. Personality match within a team is more important than overall corporate culture. Not only do you want to find the right fit for the position, but also the right fit for the people they are working with directly. This is another thing to pay attention to when making a new hire.
The Hiring Process
As a technology hiring manager, you need to make sure the hiring process is very clear and straightforward for everyone involved. This should start with a very clear job description that lists exactly what is needed, and what is desired of the candidate. From there, select one to three candidates to interview, and pre-determine your process (how many interviews, what type, etc. and keep it consistent with your chosen pool). Once you have interviewed the candidates, be sure to have a very clear follow up process and that the candidate is fully aware of every step that is going to be taken with them post-interview. Keep in mind that technology candidates have a great deal of options, and you don’t want to be left behind. Keep in touch with the candidate immediately after the interview if they are a great candidate for the position and make them the offer shortly thereafter. If the candidate will not be fit and you have decided not to move forward, let them know that as well and provide honest and timely feedback. IT can be a small world, and a candidate who feels “ghosted” will let their friends and colleagues know if they had a poor experience with your company.
Job interviews are just as important for the technology hiring manager as it is for the candidate. Be sure to properly prepare, be present in the interview, and take note of all of the important points. If this is done, you will have a successful interview. Good luck with your next great hire!
INT Technologies is the nation’s largest certified Veteran-Owned Staffing and Consulting Company. We have 20 years proven track record assisting our varied clients with their projects and staffing needs within the financial, insurance, healthcare, government, aerospace, and technology industries. Serving clients nationwide, our leadership team -comprised of Chris Knott, Richard Krause, James Moloney, Ben Meyer, and Carolyn Russell -focuses on integrity and service and the relationships they help build. Proof of our commitment to “our client is our highest priority” can be seen in the fact that each of INT’s founding clients remain INT clients 20 years later. www.inttechnologies.com