What works best to spot your next star performer?
Here are three scientist-tested tactics that will get you results.
Prepare Structured Questions
Asking all candidates the same specific questions keeps answers relevant, draws a complete picture of each candidate, and allows for direct comparison later amongst candidates. This increases the validity of the interviews by mitigating any potential biases (whether based on demographics, familiarity, or just recency of the interview).
Need some inspiration? Try one of these two proven effective question formats:
- Behavioral: Ask candidates about a previous situation where they demonstrated a basic competency relevant to the job. This allows insight into the candidate’s thought processes and past performance.
- Situational:Ask candidates what they would do in a specific hypothetical situation that they are likely to encounter on the job. This allows for an assessment of future performance even if the candidate’s past experience is not directly relevant to the position.
Ignore the Noise
Information collected during the application process (such as resumes, test scores, or letters of recommendation) can differ widely due to a variety of factors that may have nothing to do with the caliber of the candidate, and, as such, may lead to bias. Once a candidate makes it to the interview stage, it is best to assume that they have the basic qualifications for the job and ignore this supplemental material during the interview.
It is also easy to get caught up in “small-talk” with a candidate you get along with. It is important to avoid this because you may want to hire someone you like and share interests with, rather than the candidate who is the best fit for the job.
Including at least two interviewers also helps obtain more relevant and focused information from candidates and makes sure that one person’s bias doesn’t make or break an interview.
Take Detailed Notes
Note-taking creates a professional atmosphere for the interview, and allows a candidate to feel respected, listened to, and encouraged—while minimizing the necessary amount of eye contact and other body language that can bias interview outcomes.
Notes also help us remember specifics objectively. The things that interviewers remember later, without notes as a memory aid, are not necessarily the most important or relevant aspects of the interview. Human memory is limited – we remember the beginning and end of things much better than everything in between and more easily recall emotional content (such as if something was funny or sad).
Similarly, notes will help to avoid hiring someone simply based on a gut feeling that they were a “good fit” – which is not legally defensible in the United States – and stay focused instead on specific competencies, behaviors, skills, or experiences that the candidate recounted.
At a bit of a loss for where to start?
Cangrade’s Structured Interview Guides are a great way to make sure to incorporate all of these methods in your next interview. We work with your team to create a customized Structured Interview Guide designed to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate that are most relevant to success on the job.