3. The Interview Process: Preparation

Preparing for an interview is critical in order to make good hiring decisions. In this lesson, we will explore some of the preparations that occur before an interview takes place. 

Preparing for the Interview

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Before an interview begins, a great deal of preparation needs to be done—because there’s a lot at stake. The cost of making the wrong choice with hiring a new employee can be steep, from wasted salary, training time, severance payments, damage to patient or client relations, and recruitment and replacement costs. In fact, many experts estimate that the expense of a bad hire can exceed a position’s annual salary. This is why preparation is so important.

Interview Process

Having a process worked out before you begin interviewing will allow you to get an accurate idea of each candidate’s strengths and weaknesses, and their suitability for the job. Having a clear idea of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed for the position is important. It is just as important to have a plan before you begin all of the interviews; a way to assess each candidate’s answers against a list of criteria that can be applied to everyone and directly reflects the job requirements. For instance, develop an assessment scale based on the job requirements to assist you in assessing each candidate’s responses and making a decision after the interviews.

Interview Questions

Make sure that your questions allow all of the candidates you interview to demonstrate their qualifications for the job. Behavioural questions, for example, are especially effective when interviewing internationally educated professionals. By asking for specific workplace examples from their past, you allow candidates who may have limited Canadian experience to describe a potentially rich and varied work history from their previous countries—one that may fit beautifully with the job’s requirements and bring value to your organization.

Cultural Awareness and Knowledge

It is definitely worthwhile to familiarize yourself with different cultural values—remembering that many cultural values can be learned and that internationally educated professionals are often very willing to learn. Remaining open-minded and culturally aware is important. For instance, an interviewee may come from a culture that relies more heavily on non-verbal cues than direct verbal communication, or a culture where self-promotion is seen as boasting. Being aware of these cultural influences will help you remain open, impartial, and understand the context for their responses.

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