A client asked me to do a session on interviewing recently, and they asked me to emphasize the selection of the right candidate. What a request! One of the most difficult tasks a manager has is hiring the absolute best employees. Who is it? What do I do? Am I going to hire the one where the best they ever were is the interview?
First of all, realize that there are factors that will always keep you from making the perfect choice. For one, you don't always know if the candidate is accurately representing their skills or experience- maybe they have just learned how to convince you.
How do you know they have the right work ethic, or the right fit for your team? You don't...but you can do some things to getting closer to making the right decision:
1. Prepare well. Update your job description, by clearly defining the job and its requirements. Talk to someone you consider really good at the job you're hiring for, and ask them what they would consider a great employee to work beside.
2. Don't be afraid to ask tough questions. When they tell you they can perform a task, ask them a specific question about how it is done.
3. Don't be overwhelmed by their charisma. Sure, it is great to be sitting across from someone that appears perfect- grooming, communication, style, resume- but remember, that can all be formulated to influence you to hire them.
4. Ask soft skills questions about handling customers and difficult situations, or problem-solving scenario questions.
5. Have a second interview in a casual environment, like lunch, to see how they act when they let their guard down - and most will. People tend to become their true selves when they eat.
6. Prepare a set of standardized questions that you ask of everyone, so that your impressions have a baseline.
It is hard work to hire the right employees. Taking the time to prepare will save you management hours and dollars down the road.