Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley

Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley

How to Interview Like a Boss

by Tiffany Appleton

Have you ever thought about why you interview the way you do? Is it because of training you received? Or maybe it is a result of the comfort level you felt while on the other side of the interview table. Very few hiring managers have ever received formal training on how to successfully conduct interviews when looking for new team members. Since hiring the right people is an essential part of company success, choosing the right interview style is also essential.

There are many different ways to conduct an interview, but from a fundamental standpoint, you will use either a conversational or structured format.

Structured Interview:
The structured interview is more formal, and as it sounds – structured in format. For this type of interview you will have a prepared list of questions for the interviewee. To the candidate, this type of interview may feel like they are a contestant on a quiz show. The structured interview is great for digging into technical skills, subject matter knowledge, and details on prior work experience. At times, this interview can be more stressful for the candidate and can provide you with some insight into how they may perform under pressure. The downside to the quiz show method is the limited ability to get insight into the candidate’s personality and feel for cultural fit within the team.

Conversational Interview:
The conversational format is typically more free-flowing, informal, and may feel more like you are having a conversation with a friend over a cup of coffee. Usually the interview starts with reviewing the resume and follow-up questions naturally flow based upon the answers provided. This type of interview is typically more comfortable for the interviewee and allows them to open up and share more of their personality allowing you some insight into a potential team fit. Sometimes the candidate may overshare and tell you things you need to disregard as part of the hiring decision process because the topics are off-limits from a legal standpoint, like health issues, marital and family status, age, etc. As a possible downside, you may realize after the interview you didn’t ask some key questions you intended to ask because the conversation took a different direction. This can make the decision how to proceed forward with the candidate more challenging.

How should you pick which method to use? Well, it depends on a few things. First, the method that appeals most to your personality might be the most comfortable for you and therefore yield the best results. Sometimes it may be situational. If you want to really learn more about their technical skills, knowledge and experience, you may need to default to a structured interview. On the other hand, maybe you are on the second interview and feel confident the skills are there and need to determine cultural fit, so a conversational format may be ideal.

Preparing for an interview requires some preplanning and choosing your interview style is one key ingredient in the recipe for hiring the right talent.

by Tiffany Appleton, Johnson & Hill Staffing Services (a strategic partner of the FBCPV)




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