The Interview: Selecting a new employee

The Interview Selecting a new employee By Brandon Battles At one time or another, employees will leave your organization. Regardless of the reason for the departure, your organization faces the same issue, unless of course the position is...


The Interview
Selecting a new employee

By Brandon Battles

Steve PrenticeAt one time or another, employees will leave your organization. Regardless of the reason for the departure, your organization faces the same issue, unless of course the position is eliminated. Your organization must find another person to fill the vacancy. Finding the person best suited for the job is important for a couple of reasons.

First, you or someone else in your organization has to perform the tasks associated with the vacant position and that adds to what is probably an already busy job. Second, if you make the wrong selection, then you not only have to continue to perform the tasks associated with the vacant position but you also have to repeat the steps to fill the vacancy. And going through the process of finding the best-suited employee can take a great deal of time and effort.

In the October 2003 issue, I covered the steps that you may want to consider when finding the person best suited to fill the vacancy. As a brief review I suggested the following: Identify the requirements of the position. Spread the word that you are looking. Identify the best candidates.

This is where the October article ended, on the cusp of one of the very important steps in the process of selecting the candidate best suited to fill the position. The next step is the face-to-face interview. The interview is important for a couple of reasons.

First it is, more than likely, your first opportunity to meet and interact with the individual as it relates to this position. You may already know the candidate but not necessarily in this set of circumstances. The interview may be your only face-to-face opportunity to evaluate the candidate for the position. Second, the interview is hopefully the culmination of a difficult, time-consuming process that will result in a selection that benefits your organization and the individual.

If we accept that the interview is an important step in the process then what are some of the issues you should keep in mind as you prepare for, or while you conduct, an interview?

Why are you conducting the interview? As mentioned before, the interview is one of the final steps in a process that should identify an individual that is best suited to fill a vacant position in your organization. The interview should stay in concert with this objective. Don't select the individual simply because of your personal preferences.

Who do you represent? You represent the organization that employs you. You do not represent yourself. This is an easy point to forget. While conducting the interview, the person interviewed will certainly view you as such. Be careful of what you say or do. Do not make promises that the organization cannot keep, such as guaranteeing that the job will be around for a long time. Your organization might eliminate the position after a short period. And you have created a risk for your organization. While your intent was not malicious, the statement was misleading and detrimental to the new employee.

Don't tell jokes or make off-handed comments that could be misinterpreted. Remember what may not be offensive to some is to others. Stick to the subject that has brought you and the candidate together.

Be aware of your appearance. I've frequently read or heard about guidance for the person being interviewed in the areas of proper attire and clean appearance but the evaluation goes both ways. Remember the candidate is trying to make a decision about your organization as well. Your appearance could affect his or her perception of your entire organization.

Is interviewing one of your specialties? For most of you, it is not. It certainly isn't one of the core tasks that you perform while serving as manager of the maintenance organization. But as a manager, you will be asked to conduct interviews at one time or another. Even if you work for an organization that has a human resource department, you will eventually conduct interviews.

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