Thursday, January 8, 2009

Interviews. What, me nervous?

Job interviews can be nerve wracking, and not just for the person being interviewed. Often, the interviewer experiences anxiety prior to a meeting. There may be more on the line for the interviewer. If the wrong person is hired, it could end up costing the company money, or worse costing someone their job.

Interviewing is an art and doing it properly goes beyond asking scripted questions. Today’s serious job seeker prepares specifically for that type of interview. They have rehearsed answers and possibly taken workshops or received coaching to help them get through the tough interview process. Yet very little coaching takes place for the person interviewing candidates. Often the only training they received was from the person who interviewed them for the job they now hold.

To interview properly you have to get to know the person you are interviewing. You need to determine if you trust and respect them enough to want them working for you.

Start by disarming them. Your first priority is to get them relaxed. True personal qualities do not come through while under stress. Talk to them about anything and everything, except the position or company. For example, their trip to the interview, how far did they have to drive? What part of town do they live in? Do they enjoy living there? How long have they lived in the area? How are the real estate prices in that part of town? Did they grow up there?

It’s amazing how much you can learn with the right small talk. You might find out how connected they are to their community, or if they pay attention to the world around them. Messages might start to come through they don’t really care about a lot of things. It might take ten or fifteen minutes of small talk and conversation before getting into the meat of the actual job interview. During this exchange you begin to detect attitudes, friendliness (or lack of), openness, sense of humor, communication skills and qualities that don’t always come through with the typical “ tell me about a time when you had to overcome a huge obstacle at work” type questions. The more talking they do, the easier it will be for you determine their character, and pay attention to the questions they ask you. This will also tell you a lot about the type of person they are.

Slowly segue into the employment portion of the interview. It should happen with the same ease and grace as your small talk. Done properly, they won’t even realize the interview is underway.

Of course every job requires skills and abilities to be able to do the job and standard interview questions may be required for confirmation of those skills and abilities. Getting to know someone beyond the nice resume, the list of references and rehearsed interview questions requires a true desire to want to get to know them. Remember, you can always train someone how to do the job, but you can’t train him or her to be a nice person.

As for the nervousness experienced by interviewers, well, it’s hard to feel sorry for the person who already has a job.

Your Comments are welcome- Glen Slingerland


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home