Interview Tips for Hiring Managers

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By Laura Weinman, Vice President, KEES

Are you conducting an interview for a key position on your team? Are you planning ahead to put your best face forward, and that of your organization, to wow the best candidates?

There is a common misconception floating around right now that the market is flooded with top candidates. Of course, there are some – but they are all likely looking at multiple positions. In our work in nonprofit executive search, KEES has found that candidates who are currently employed need more coaxing and attention before considering a move during times of uncertainty. What can you do to make your organization, your mission, your leadership standout?

Many people think that interview guidelines are for candidates only. But how do YOU as the interviewer most effectively present yourself? After all, the best hiring experiences are consultative and collaborative – not simply transactional. If you come to the interview unprepared, disinterested or unfocused, you may lose the chance to recruit your top choice(s).

Candidates should and DO make decisions about joining a team based primarily on two items: mission and the direct supervisor. So making a good impression is not just important for the candidate – it is equally important for the interviewer.

Consider the following:

  1. Have you done your homework on the candidate and gotten to know them? Do you come prepared with specific questions?
  2. Are you projecting a warm and welcoming presence – i.e. are you glad to see them? Show it!
  3. Are you presenting professionally? This can be hard via video, where there may be other things competing for our attention. Are you sitting at a table or desk? Have you taken the time to dress as you would for an in-person business meeting? (At least from the waist up!) Is background sound (i.e. noise from kids/pets/etc.) minimized – or better yet, eliminated?
  4. Are you making your interaction with the candidate your sole focus, or are you checking your phone/texting/answering emails while looking into the camera? (Tip: they can tell!)
  5. Are you forthcoming and sincere in your answers to their questions? Did you even allow them to ask questions? This is a very important component of a successful interview.
  6. Have you answered honestly about a timeline and follow up steps for candidates?

Great candidates are drawn to great bosses, and your initial impression will help lay the foundation for the candidate’s overall opinion of you and your organization. For additional interview tips or information on search coaching, please contact us. The KEES team conducts hundreds of interviews each year as part of our nonprofit executive search services, and we would be happy to share our experience!