The next installment of our how to series, is sharing my tips on how to interview potential staff. I am by no means a professional HR consultant, however I have been interviewing potential staff for our business and in my position as pharmacy manager for nearly 10 years, along the way I have learned a few things that may help you, especially if you are a small business or this is your first time.
How To… Interview Potential Staff
Create Your Criteria
This step should really be done prior to advertising your position, however, if you haven’t already done so, create a criteria for your potential staff member, detailing such things as hours, responsibilities etc. Put all the possible information into this document to help you secure the perfect person for the job.
Make a Shortlist
Once you have received all your applications or resumes, make a short list of potential staff who fit your criteria based on the information you have received in their resumes.
Schedule The Interview
Choose a day or two that will work best for you to interview your chosen, potential staff and then start making the calls.
Remember that you are actually interviewing each potential staff member from the moment you call their number. Make notes about how you find each person when you make the call, for example, how did they answer the phone, were they able to be agreeable to your chosen interview time and if not, where they honest about why? What is their phone manner like? This call will give you a good feel for the person before they arrive for the interview.
Create an Interview Question List
We had a list of 10 questions that we asked every interviewee. Asking the same consistent questions gives the best opportunity to find the right staff member for your business. I do believe there is an actual requirement to ask the same questions to ensure that you are being fair to your chosen interviewees as well. This will also make it easier to narrow down to the right person for you. You’ll find one or two applicants will answer the questions in a way that will identify most for you and your business.
There are certain questions you cannot ask, this is best researched on government websites such as the Fair Work website. Your questions may not lead to discrimination, for example, you cannot ask how old someone is, or if a woman is pregnant or planning to be come pregnant. Likewise you cannot discriminate or ask questions that could lead to discrimination around gender, race or sexual orientation.
The biggest tip I can give, is to allow plenty of time during the interview for you as the interviewer to pause in the conversation, now this may sound weird, but this is when the nerves of the applicant will make them talk to fill the space. This creates the opportunity for your potential staff member to reveal a little more about themselves, and gives you the time to get to know them a little better.
Take notes during your interview as you will want refer back to them when all your interviews are done. When interviewing a few applicants it becomes quite confusing on reflection, it’s easy to forget who answered what. This is where your notes will step in.
Don’t Forget The Applicant
When interviewing, don’t forget this process is aimed at finding the right candidate for your business. Give them as much information as possible about the job during the interview. Allow the applicant to be sure this is also the right job for them. The last thing you want is to hire someone who you think is perfect only to have them find the job just isn’t right for them.
While it is unlikely that a potential employee will give you references that would highlight any negative experiences, there is still a lot to be gained by checking references. Referees when asked the right questions will give you a real insight into the working personality of your potential employee.
Give Yourself Some Time
Often as soon as the interview process is done, you will have already found who you are most comfortable with hiring, but I do advise giving yourself a day or two to sit with your decision before making the call. If you are still comfortable with your decision, now the real fun begins 🙂 There is also nothing wrong with a second interview if you are really torn between a couple of applicants, or a day as a trial to be sure the fit is right for both of you.
Inform Your Applicants
Informing your applicants is not only about informing the person who you awarded the job too, be courteous and phone each of the interviewed applicants to let them know how they went. Be sure to give them the positives of their interviews, for example: “Hi Michelle, I am calling today to inform you that unfortunately you didn’t get the job you interviewed with us for. It is important for you to know, that we were very happy with your interview, however we found someone more suited to the position we have offered. We thank you for your time, and will be sure to be in touch if something comes up again in the future” Thank you.
The applicant may want to ask a few questions about why they didn’t get the job, it is totally up to you if you want to answer this, I would advise to keep the answers quite general.
Your first call should be to the applicant you wish to offer the job, that way if they have decided not to accept the position, you are not in a place of having to call another applicant you had already turned down. In your phone call be clear about the position offered, the hours and terms of work and back it all up in an email.
File The Other Candidate’s Resumes
You have no idea what is in the future, the person you employed may not turn out to be the fit you thought, they may have to move for some reason, whatever the cause if you are looking for another employee in the short term the resumes you already have are a great place to start. We kept 3 of our applicants resumes, just in case.
It is a lengthy process to find and hire the right person for your business. Hopefully these tips will make the process a little easier.
Have you had to hire anyone for your business? Have you ever been interviewed by someone who used the pause method? What was the worst question you’ve been asked in an interview?