So it’s time to add to your team. Woohoo! Congratulations!! That’s a huge (sometimes scary) milestone! It means your company is well on its way!
There’s a lot to read out there about the do’s, and don’ts, of interviewing. The lists can seem endless when you do the most simple of Google searches. The reality is that you already know what it is that’s most important. It’s just really easy to forget.
Let’s be honest. It’s not comfortable for most people to sit across a table, desk, or even bar high top and ask questions that can be awkward and at times personal. The old standby questions such as “what are your strengths” can result in ambiguous answers and then there’s always the esoteric options like “why are manhole covers round” that supposedly will help you, the interviewer, get a glimpse into a candidate’s logic and problem-solving skills.
Ask your questions. Dig deeper with follow up ones if you didn’t quite learn what you wanted to know. At the end of the day, you, Mr./Ms. Entrepreneur turned Interrogator, will want to remember this.
Ask the question and then be quiet. This is going to feel awkward. It will be uncomfortable and may even make you think that the room is suddenly a lot warmer. There is nothing wrong with any of that – sometimes it takes a few moments, even minutes, for a person to think of the answer they want to share.
Most people are uncomfortable with silence, so we begin to fill the void. As an interviewer you can feel a little bit like the host of a party or the moderator of a meeting – and silence is not likely to be good in those situations. In this case, it’s fine. Sit quietly and wait. And then truly listen – listen to what’s said and what the candidate doesn’t say.
Many times an interviewer walks away thinking it was a great experience and the candidate is perfect, but what really happened is that the interviewer talked about what matters to him/her the whole time. Of course the perception is that it was a wonderful conversation! The candidate walks away thinking that it went well too – they didn’t get the chance to say anything, let alone say something wrong.
So the one absolute ‘must-do’ – listen. (And don’t hesitate to reach out if you need some help – firstname.lastname@example.org)
Managing Principal, Green Door Co.