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Many manager-level new hires quickly find themselves back in the interviewing room. This time, they sit across the table to interview a new team member.
Although they have already secured their jobs, their way of handling these interviews and the entire hiring process can be telling for the other managers involved.
If still on probation, this experience of being involved in hiring can be a great opportunity to bolster your position as a leader if handled appropriately. If not, you may be risking your prospects within the company — if not the job itself. In short, the big difference between you and any other veteran hiring manager is that all eyes will be on you and your vision for building a successful team.
To make sure that you turn this opportunity to your favour, focus on the following points.
Speaking for the company
When doing an interview, you are simply speaking and working on behalf of the employer. Make sure not to make any mistakes because you don't really understand the full scope of the employer's business or job requirements.
To avoid this situation, ask others, refer to HR, or tell the interviewee that you will get back to him/her later. You also need to pre-empt this situation by preparing extensively for the interview, getting a full picture of what the job entails, and the scope of responsibilities and business requirements.
In addition, know exactly the limits of your powers and interviewing scope. Are you expected to speak about technical areas only? Bring up compensation or not? Are you authorised to give the green light for the next step?
Keep your attitude in check
In off-the-record and water-cooler conversations, hiring managers may be less professional on how they refer to job candidates. They may make comments that they definitely won't make in writing or in a formal setting. It is human nature, although it is unacceptable.
But if you're new to an office, and you're unsure of your surroundings, you need to keep your comments in check, even if others are not.
Similarly, try to communicate your feedback, recommendations, preferences (especially if they are negative) in writing — even after you've had a casual conversation. This way, you will have a paper trail for the hiring process, which should help you stay organised when it is time to shortlist candidates or explain why someone was excluded from the hiring process.
Of course, keep your email professional, clean and totally free of any comment that can be taken as discriminatory or ungrounded.
Interview focus points
The best approach is to review your questions ahead of the interview with other management members. But you cannot plan for every turn in the interview.
The interviewee may bring up an unexpected question or comment. For example, it may be an initial screening and you have to handle a money inquiry, a question about future business planning or a personal background question. Many of these situations can be sensitive or, worse, can be stressful for you to answer on the spot.
If you feel uncomfortable during the interview, don't try to improvise your way. Ask someone to handle the question or give a brief answer and change the topic. The point is: don't let an interviewee's inappropriate comment or question derail your efforts to keep the interview's standards.
When coming to making a decision, don't get obsessed with one point or another. For example, if the candidate is lacking a particular experience, note the issue and move on. Don't turn it into an argument to reject or accept one candidate too early in the process.
In particular, if the candidate appears to be someone who can take your position in the future, be extremely careful in how you handle the situation. If you look threatened or insecure, you won't get very far in the decision-making process.
A better strategy is to explain how relevant the person's experience is to the job opening, and highlight the additional or different skills as a bonus that can be helpful to the team, although they are not essential to the employer's immediate needs.
Hiring after just being hired
- Know the scope of the job opening.
- Watch what you say about the employer.
- Stay professional, formal and appropriate always.
- Don't walk into a trap during the interview.
Get tips on how to discover and embrace your uniqueness
Source: Rania Oteify, Special to gulfnews.com
The writer, a former Gulf News Business Features Editor, is a Seattle-based editor