Maximize Your Job Interview Time with Candidates

Alicia Hall —  March 25, 2015 — Leave a comment

Time Management“I don’t mind doing interviews. I don’t mind answering thoughtful questions. But, I’m not thrilled about answering questions like, ‘If you were being mugged, and you had a lightsaber in one pocket, and a whip in the other, which would you use?’ ” – Harrison Ford

Though Harrison Ford wasn’t referring to job interview questions, but rather questions he receives from entertainment reporters, the sentiment is still the same. The finite time that you have with a candidate during a job interview is extremely valuable. It is vital to make sure that time is spent wisely. Any time that you are able to spend with the person who could potentially fill your organizational need is an opportunity to learn valuable insight.

In addition, in the current employment climate candidates are not as plentiful. They will be scrutinizing your job interview strategy as much as you will be scrutinizing their answers. Below are some tips to steer your job interview in the optimal direction.

Will the person in the job interview meet your need?

There are a variety of ways to ascertain this information. You will never know for sure until that person is working in the role, but you can utilize the job interview process to develop an excellent guess. Is it a position where they have to have excellent Microsoft Office skills for instance? If so, have them create a spreadsheet in your office or dictate information that you need them to capture it in a Word document. Need an excellent Outside Sales person? Take them on an appointment with you, and see how they interact with the clients. There are a multitude of things to do in order to see first hand if they can produce the kind of work that you want in your organization. Some of these things can’t be seen in a traditional job interview.

Can you afford to work together?

It is a candidates’ market now. And candidates are quick to negotiate or even turn down an offer that does not meet their financial needs. Though the topic of money and benefits is traditionally found to be uncomfortable or inappropriate in the beginning of the job interview process, getting the compensation out in the open early can save an immense amount of time for both parties. You may have someone who is the right skill fit but is expecting twice as much as you are offering. It is key to be on the same page regarding deal breakers such as this, in order to move on quickly to those that are more aligned for the position.

Will it be a mutual culture fit?

A key issue to determine probability for a long term relationship is whether or not the company embraces the new employee and whether or not the employee will embrace them. A way to uncover that is to ask how the candidate enjoys spending their leisure time, and allow them to ask you questions as well. Have some additional staff interview your candidate, or invite them to a staff meeting so they can get a clear picture as to how your business operates.

These are a few ways to think about conducting your job interviews to get the information that you really need to make a successful hire. What are other things that you think are important to understand during the interview process?

Alicia Hall


Alicia is one of our Staffing Coordinators at NewHire and recruiting experts. She’s a true Chicagoan, and knows just about every good eats, music venue and gallery in the city.

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