1. Don't talk too much
Aim for an 85/15 split, with 85 percent of your time spent listening. Don't rush to break a silence. Give applicants plenty of time to respond to each question.
2. Do know your legal limits
Make sure everyone involved in the interview process, including employees you bring in to meet the applicant, understand what they can and can't ask legally. For example, avoid questions about a person's marital status, number of children, child care plans, citizenship status, age (unless it's a bona fide occupational qualification), names of relatives, reli-gious affiliation, political affiliation or disability status.
3. Don't ask questions off the cuff
Prepare a list of questions and stick to it. A loose approach isn't good for interviews. At best, it can be uninformative and, at worst, legally dangerous. And you'll want to make a fair comparison among candidates.
4. Do sharpen your focus
During the first interview, find out as much as possible about the applicant, rather than detailing the open position. If you're interested in the candidate, you'll have more information on how to sell the person on the job. If you're not interested, you won't have wasted either person's time.
5. Do make it clear that you'll verify rÈsumÈ claims
That includes checking into current or former compensation. You'd be surprised how many candidates instantly admit to fudging their education or employment background or inflating their current salary. The bonus: You'll waste a lot less time and money checking out people who won't pass muster.
6. Don't forget your body language
You can tip off interviewees by smiling at the "right" answers and frowning at the "wrong" ones, or by leaning toward or away from the person while he or she is responding to your questions.
7. Do mix harmless questions with pointed ones
Focusing on too many critical issues early in the interview can seem like a grilling and unnerve the candidate. If a candidate seems to dodge an issue, drop it. If that question is critical to the job, return to it later.
8. Don't become blinded by personal preferences
Avoid letting a common interest/expertise that you have with the applicant bias your feelings favorably, especially if the interest is irrelevant to the job. Just because you both run marathons, doesn't mean the person can keep up the pace at work.
9. Do phrase your questions offhandedly
For example, the question "What would you say your greatest strengths are?" is less threatening than asking "What are your strengths?" And avoid putting the candidate on the defensive. A comment such as "That's interesting. Could you tell me more?" is better than "Why?" or "What do you mean by that?"
10. Do try to link new questions with prior answers
This type of bridge adds a relaxed, conversational tone to the interview and helps put the candidate at ease. For example, you might say: "So you enjoy taking on responsibility. Now, let's talk a little about how you like to supervise."
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