1. Prepare. You don't walk into a client meeting with no prep whatsoever. You already have surprisingly little input about this person you will be spending your time with and entrusting with your company! So dig in.
- Re-read your awesome job posting, and think again about the type of person you need in the role. What do their accomplishments look like? Their expertise? What do you expect their demeanor to be like?
- Read the resume and cover letter. Are they directed to you personally and address the challenges of the company? Do they want your job or just a job?
- Google the candidates name and past employers. What did the companies they work for do? How big (or relevant) are they?
- Reflect. Why might this person want a job with your company? Why do they have 10 jobs over the last year?
- First, tell the candidate the agenda for the meeting.
- Ask the candidate questions.
- Then tell the candidate more about your company and the open position. You'll likely be tempted to explain the role and company first, so candidates can explain how their background fits your needs. Resist. You want people to rise to the top because they naturally have the past experiences and mindset that fit the role - like a missing puzzle piece. Plenty of the candidates can tell you how they are like your open role and can fix your challenges. If you make them 'go first' it just makes your job easier.
- Have a hiring time line, communicate it and then stick to it. Tell them if you have another week of interviews, when your review team will look at resumes and meeting notes, and when they will hear back (i.e. you'll here from me in the early part of the week starting May xx). Let the candidate know they can check in, give more info, or ask questions before this time if they see it valuable.
- Leave time for questions.
4. Focus. When talking about past experiences or how a candidate would deal with a situation in your workplace, keep them on target. It's easy to find yourself listening (with head in hand) as they digress into tangents.
- Hone in on actual results reached. Ask for data points and facts. Candidates may reveal their feelings, what they think they contributed, and they will analyze ... but dig for facts. What was their sales quota? Actual sales? Biggest account? What was the targeted release date for the software they worked on? Target budget? Actual budget?
- Instead of company and team achievements, get at personal achievements.
- If/when you have multiple interviewers, avoid asking all the same questions over and over. Share your notes and outline what each interviewer should be focusing on. You can have some similar questions, but in general some folks should verify technical skills and others looking for company fit (for example). Asking the same questions over and over can reveal your disorganization.
- If you assume they aren't technical enough, ask specific details about how they accomplished their last project.
- If they seem scattered ask about their organizational tools.
- If they come across as bossy and direct ask about their personal relationships.
- Take your opinion of the candidate, imagine the opposite and ask questions about it.