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Tips for how hiring managers should act in interviews

There is so much written for the job candidate about how to behave in an interview. What you don’t see very often are tips for how the hiring manager should act during an interview.

Ironically, many of the same principles apply. The person doing the interview should behave and be just as prepared as the person he or she is interviewing. Sit up straight, practice eye contact, be friendly and be prepared with appropriate questions that speak directly to the job.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. I’m sure all of us have our share of horror stories about an interviewer who was unfocused or disinterested, dominated the interview by doing all the talking, or even asked illegal questions.

I once had an interview with a guy whose first question for me was, “So, what do you know about me?” Not about the company, mind you, but him. Since it was not a job being his PR agent, I took that question as a bad sign.

If part of your job is to interview job candidates, here’s some advice for how to conduct yourself during the interview.

Have the person’s resume in front of you. I’m not sure of any reason you wouldn’t but I’ve seen it happen. This is not a firing squad you’re overseeing. You’re there to ask questions relevant to the person’s experience. Have the decency to show the person that you’ve made an effort to look at the document he or she has worked hard to create. Can the high and mighty attitude. I’ve seen it too many times. The “power of the hire” goes to managers’ heads faster than anything. But look, this is a two-way street. You’re there to find someone who is going to fill a staff need and the folks you’re interviewing are there to find a job and a company that fits their skills and needs. Respect the reciprocal nature of the interview. Don’t purposefully lob tough questions just because you can. Nothing productive comes from making a job candidate squirm. Refrain from cattiness. In the course of explaining to a job candidate the ins and outs of the company structure, you may have wanted to blurt out something like, “But you’ll find out he’s totally useless.” I shouldn’t have to say this, but please don’t speak ill of your co-workers or other departments or end-users in an interview. Don’t monopolize the interview. Again, this is a two-way street. Your organization and your personal career within it might be interesting to you (and your mom), but unless you allow the job candidate to talk about his background, you’re really not getting anywhere are you? Don’t ask illegal questions. It is illegal to ask a job candidate about any of the following:

  • Race
  • Color
  • Sex
  • Religion
  • National origin
  • Birthplace
  • Age
  • Disability
  • Marital/family status


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