Is your management team prepared to land the very best job candidate?

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As an HR leader, you know how important it is to be prepared, sharp and ready to go to interview the finalist job candidates.

But are your managers and executives also ready? After all, they’ve got a few other things on their daily “to do” list, and a job interview might not be ranked as “priority” on their busy computer calendar.

There are a few steps you can take to make sure managers have “top of mind” thinking toward the interview agenda, increasing the chances for a successful hire.

  • First and foremost, make sure you’ve narrowed the candidates? list to the most qualified for the job. Managers will be more responsive if they’re not immediately turned off by a candidate who they feel is just wasting their time. Yes, sometimes it’s easier said than done, but that’s why HR helps managers be better managers.
  • As you set up the interviews, commit to finding team members who’ll have a real vested interest in hiring the top candidate. If a really good hire makes their daily business life easier, they’re going to work harder to find the best person.
  • Think twice about having more than four or five managers or executives interview each candidate.
  • Work smart before each interview to create individual assignments for each manager. Work up a few key questions pertinent to each department’s needs, and it’s more likely all bases will be covered through the interviews. Managers will appreciate the extra effort you put in to get to the right answers from candidates.
  • A job candidate, for example, doesn’t need to listen to the company’s history through three straight interviews. Let one manager promote why your business is a great place to work, with a set agenda of other topics to be covered in other interviews.
  • Once again, remember the very best candidates probably are interviewing at other companies, including your competition. So if there’s one manager you believe might not resonate well with the interviewee, politely, maybe even with a little humor, remind them why they need to stick to the key questions. Make them aware of a particular candidate who appears to have the best resume and qualifications, and why it’s always important to leave the best impression in every interview.
  • Finally, remind everyone, maybe with just a quick e-mail, of the “80/20 rule.” The interview time should be about 80 percent devoted to the candidate explaining their skills and desires; 20 percent goes to the interviewer, not the other way around. Just training managers to do their best on that rule can really help to keep interview times on schedule and moving to a successful outcome.

Jean Imbler-Jansen specializes in HR Executive search in both the Denver metro area and national markets. She has more than 20 years of senior management Human Resources experience, and started Strategic HR Solutions in Boulder in 2001. For more information or to contact Jean directly, visit or call her at 303-247-9500.


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