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Conducting Your First-ever Interview? A Step-by-step Guide to Help You Hire Like a Pro!

Being a manager can be everything you had imagined — a wonderful team, big projects, round table conferences, feedback sessions, and skill workshops. But, does conducting your first-ever interview for hiring send chills down your spine? Are a million unanswered questions running in your mind as you prepare for D-day? What if there was an interview guide to help you hire like a pro? If this proposition excites you, then read on to benefit from our step-by-step interview guide. 

There is a golden rule to remember before you get started with the hiring process: Always treat a candidate the way you wish you were treated when you were applying for jobs.

Though this sounds very obvious, it is often not the reality in the corporate world. Conducting an interview is both an art and a science. There is no right or wrong way as it is heavily led by intuition and managers bring in their personality into every interview. Most managers complete professional courses before taking up such job roles, but interviewing as a skill isn’t often taught as a part of the curriculum. So, let us dive right in to master this skill set in five simple steps. 

Step 1: Why are you hiring?

This is one of the most important questions to answer before shortlisting candidates. A few factors that will help you answer this question will be: 

  • What is the exact role this new member will play? 
  • Is there a long-term benefit for the company?
  • Are those skills currently missing or scarce within the company?
  • Can you hire internally if there are enough resources in other departments?

Pro tip: Once you figure out why you are hiring externally, your process becomes a lot more streamlined. As you are hiring for the first time, it would be best to discuss the requirement with your manager. Following this, you can seek help from a representative from the human resources (HR) team who will assist you through the hiring process. 

Next promotion is a course away

Step 2: Set up a good job description (JD)

A job description document is used by the HR department to source candidates. It is also used by job seekers to narrow down the selection process. A JD should include all the information a candidate needs:Interview guide

  • Designation
  • About the role (summary) 
  • Day-to-day responsibilities
  • What are the skills required (hard and soft)
  • Any prerequisites 
  • Educational qualification expectations
  • Salary range
  • Location (complete address if it is not a remote role)
  • Years of experience

Pro tip: Be as specific as you can on a JD. Use keywords on the document so that it can be easily found on search engines. Also, use a template if needed but always keep the JD as a fully text-only document (not as an image).

Step 3: Reach out via the right channels

Finding the right talent is hard. It has always been and though thousands of portals claim to be solving this issue, the process still is painstaking. Your company’s HR team will definitely know the right channels that have worked for the organization in the past — LinkedIn, job sites like Monster, Indeed, Jooble, or via referrals. 

While that team continues to explore these options, you could leverage your network as a hiring manager. Post about this opportunity on your LinkedIn page and tag acquaintances who can help spread the word. Share the JD with your college community, as well! 

Pro tip: Your current employees are your company’s biggest brand ambassadors. Encourage them to refer their friends and professional acquaintances. This will be more credible and prospective employees will easily trust the company and role too! Also, every JD has must-haves and good-to-haves. Have a cut-off when you are reviewing profiles but be flexible if the profile is not conventional. 

Step 4: Shortlist using data (and your gut)

Job Interview

For every job posting, 250 candidates apply on average. Expertly navigating through the applicants and finding that one perfect candidate is a much-needed skill for a manager. Before you start interviewing all the applicants, just remember how precious time is, both yours and the applicant’s. 

You will receive applicant information via your internal hiring portal or email, based on your company policy. Never share this information or seek support from those outside your organization as this is private and confidential. Take your team’s support if needed and review profiles. 

Pro tip: Some profiles might meet your exact requirements, move them to the interview pile. However, there might be candidates who do not fit exactly. They might come from off-beat paths, or might be switching careers. Do not reject these profiles if you believe they have transferable skills, real-life experience, and scope for growth. 

Step 5: Prepare for the face-to-face interview 

Once you have shortlisted profiles, seek help from your HR to send invites. They could even complete the first screening round via telephone.

The interview could be in-person or online. Either way, there are some etiquettes to follow:

  • Be punctual 
  • Introduce yourself
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable and ask for an introduction
  • Give a background of the company, team, and role
  • Keep their resume handy for a quick reference
  • Provide technical questions in advance, if applicable
  • Do not be over-friendly. Maintain a professional rapport 
  • Share the agenda of the interview at the beginning of the call
  • Provide the next steps at the end of the call
  • Overcommitting or promising is a strict NO
  • Asking cliche questions will lead to cliche answers. Give a spin to your questions and only ask the ones that really resonate with you and are relevant to the role
  • If it is a one-hour interview, then ask a maximum of eight questions and give them five minutes to answer. They could get a two minute buffer to prepare
  • Keep the last ten minutes for the candidate to clarify their queries

As job seekers, we have all faced rejections. Sometimes, in very rare circumstances, we also get emails or calls from companies that reject us. In most other cases, we get ghosted. If this has happened to you in the past, and you wish to change it as a recruiting manager, then here is your chance. Seek help from your HR and share feedback or rejection emails with candidates. This will go a long way in setting your reputation and your company’s. 

Pro tip: Confidently conduct the interview without any personal biases. Ask candidates to share their stories, and what they can bring to the table, and check for a good fit. Look for those who are ready to learn and grow. Soft skills are a lot tougher to inculcate in adults, hard skills on the other hand can be learned and picked up along the way. Most importantly, consider a good fit not only for your team but also for the entire organization. 

Get ready for the future of work

The role of a manager keeps evolving. Accelerating your path toward leadership is now more sought after than pre-pandemic. Learn how to lead modern workplaces and build the right team via online leadership programs. 

Here’s are the skills you can learn: 

  • Leadership skills
  • How to manage people
  • Change management
  • Negotiation and influence
  • Building sustainable businesses
  • Incorporating Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) strategies

If you are looking for online leadership programs, then Emeritus has top-quality courses from the world’s best universities like Berkeley Haas, Kellogg Executive Education, and Columbia Business School. Individuals looking to accelerate their careers as leaders must upskill consistently. Emeritus is here to help you at every stage of becoming a leader. 

Feedback or questions? Mail us at content@emeritus.org 

By Manasa Ramakrishnan

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