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Meeting Mutual Expectations in a Face-to-Face Job Candidate Interview

Even if you are able to find highly qualified candidates purely by working the phone, everything must still be verified by a face-to-face interview. A candidate is not guaranteed the job even if he or she has the right work experience, education, and excellent references. Just as important is the personality of the individual in question. This can best be experienced through a face-to-face interview.

There are also certain questions that are best asked of somebody when you meet him or her in person. The same goes for uncovering certain weaknesses. Someone with good interview skills should be able to obtain the necessary information in short order.

In order to be a successful interviewer and thereby get the results that you want, you need to:
  • Be well prepared (study the write-up and comments that you earlier obtained over the telephone).
  • Know what questions to ask (know what you need to probe on), and do not be afraid to ask them.
  • Have a very good understanding of what your company's needs are.
  • Understand the personalities of the people with whom the candidate will be working.
When you spend time with someone, you usually get a certain gut feeling about him or her. This gut feeling should become an important part of the process. During the entire interview, let the candidate do most of the talking. Try to stick to the 80/20 rule; ask questions 20 percent of the time and you will be able to listen 80 percent of the time.

It is very important to know in advance, what you are going to say and ask, because this enables you to dedicate the greater part of your time to listening. Always use an assessment report.

An interview should be handled professionally from both sides. This means that a confirmation letter should be sent to the prospect's home address with information on time, date, and place. After all, you are the one who contacted the candidate. When the potential candidate shows up, certain factors can affect both parties:

Prospect's expectations in a face-to-face interview
  • The prospect should not have to wait. If the interview is to take place at 2:00 P.M., then that is when everything should get started.

  • The prospect should get the feeling that the interviewer is well prepared and has spent time reading the written material (resume, write-up, etc.).

  • Information about the further process, the next step (follow-ups when promised) is of great importance.
Interviewer's expectations in a face-to-face interview

The candidate is expected to be on time.

The interviewer expects to meet someone who is polite, eager, and well groomed. Many candidates unfortunately do not realize that if their behavior or dress is off the wall, the interview is really over before it has even started.

The interview should follow the flow of the written candidate presentation. After some social chatting, it is important to figure out what the candidate was like through high school and college and what events in the candidate's youth might have shaped his or her career. Also attempt to cover the different personal events during the candidate's career, such as a divorce or health problems, and of course areas of interest at the present time. If the client likes to go mountain climbing, it is nice to have a candidate who also enjoys mountain climbing.

During the interview, look constantly for personal impressions such as posture, self-assurance, presence, enthusiasm, ego, aggressiveness, ability to get to the point quickly, ability to articulate accomplishments, memory, quick mind, personality, sense of humor, and other traits.

Good questions to ask are: How would your present boss describe you? Are there any personal factors that could affect your employment? When conducting the interview you can never be lazy about making notes.

Another important rule is to try to stick to open-end questions (unless you want to clarify whether the candidate has certain skills or background required for the position, which can be answered with yes or no).

When you ask questions, do not show signs of agreement. To get the most out of the time, do not comment at all. Just listen very carefully, and ask the right questions. (Remember that in some cultures, it is illegal to ask certain questions-check this out for the country in which you are interviewing people.)