The Art of Interviewing Candidates

There are many important variables to consider when interviewing a candidate for an internal position. Making the right hire can be crucial to a project or team depending on your company’s needs. As an IT manager, acquiring the best talent means knowing what to look for. A strong resume will get an interview but a mix of personality and technical fit will get a candidate the IT job.

Lee Iacocca knows the hiring and firing process quite well. The pioneer of the Ford Mustang and President of Ford Motor Company, Iacocca was fired in from the Automotive Giant in 1972 after a dispute with Henry Ford II. A year later he was hired by Chrysler, then ultimately saved the company from bankruptcy and brought it to financial fruition. Iacocca said “I hire people brighter than me and then I get out of their way”, most certainly a key to his success and a leader and hiring manager.
Important things to Consider:

Never Concede Quality to Stop the Bleeding

  • This point sounds simple but you’d be surprised at how many companies rush a hire to alleviate a need, to just get a body in the door, as opposed to hiring the right person for the job. It accomplishes a short-term goal instead of the long-term goal.
  • There’s nothing more devastating to a team than hiring someone you settled for only to find out that person is a flop. All kinds of problems arise in this type of situation.  All of which cost the company time and money in the long run.
  • It might take a long time to make the right hire, but most permanent roles tend to have a long hiring process. There is a method to the madness and although it’s certainly not a quick solution in the end it’s definitely worth it.

Ensure you have a need to fill (and the budget to pay for that need)

  • Remember that although this is an opportunity for you to interview the candidate it’s also an opportunity for the candidate to evaluate the company. Desperate candidates will take any role offered, because they usually don’t have a choice. These people tend to be more likely to be unsuccessful on the technical job and tend to jump from  role to role.
  •  If you begin the hiring process without an actual position available you are not only wasting the candidate’s time but your own employee’s time as well as the IT recruiting agency or company that you work for.
  • Having candidates find out they interviewed for something that might not actually exist makes your IT recruiting firm    look bad. Good IT recruiters know that strong candidates usually know other strong candidates. If you muddy the    reputation of your company within a circle of strong candidates, it’s extremely difficult to backtrack.

Quality Interviews are Conversational, Not Q&A Session

  • People open up more through conversation as opposed to firing off questions to them. The scripted answers rarely give any indication of a cultural or personality fit. If a candidate can answer the question, and in the answer show how they analyzed the problem and came up with the solution, it is a better demonstration of the candidate and how they will perform in a real “work” situation.
  • One important way to generate conversation is to ask open-ended questions. “Yes” or “No” questions will not give you the depth you might be looking for.
  • Although it may sound obvious, always let the candidate speak. As the interviewer you should prompt the
    conversation, not dominate it.

Follow Your Instincts

  • Even if a candidate has all the right answers, if something about that person rubs you the wrong way, don’t do it! Your gut is almost never wrong. Regret over the possibility of missing out on a good candidate is far less expensive  and easier on the conscience than the cost and hassle of hiring the wrong one.
  • Team chemistry and dynamic is important. Candidates with strong technical backgrounds come and go but rock-star candidates that augment the team are a rare find.  When you do find these candidates, hold on to them for dear  life.

Identifying what personality traits are necessary for each role from the start is an important part of the process and makes following your instincts easier. If the person is going to be part of the team, obviously fitting into the group’s culture is imperative. If the IT job is more of an individual contributor type of position, then that candidate should be independent and self-reliant.

At the end of the day, hiring permanent employees is a much more complicated process than hiring IT contractors. Retaining your employees is the goal of most IT recruiting companies Boston.  As a result, the process is usually elongated and more complex. The best way to approach the interview process is to know exactly what you are looking for.  You’ll typically know as soon as you find it.

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AVID (Applications, Voice, Internet, Data) Technical Resources is a leading Information Technology recruiting company. Specializing in placing contract and permanent personnel in both Infrastructure Support and Applications Development positions, AVID has a national presence supporting clients ranging from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies. Headquartered in Boston, MA, AVID has achieved tremendous growth since the firm's inception in 2003. This has triggered numerous national awards and recognition, such as being named to Inc. 500 Magazine's list of 5,000 Fastest Growing Privately-held Companies in the US in 2010, 2011 and 2013. Additionally, the firm boasts of having more than 100 five-star reviews on Google from clients and candidates who rave about their experience and interaction with the firm's recruiters.