Interviewing Tips for Tech Hiring Managers: Be Ready To Drive The Process
All interviewing tips for tech hiring managers relate to one fundamental truth about the hiring process: it’s a two-way street and you need to map out your route to reach the destination.
Yes, your company has entrusted you with the enormous responsibility of identifying, interviewing, and ultimately securing the best possible candidate for a technical position. That is your mission and agenda. But the person sitting on the other side of the table (or on your Zoom screen) has a mission and agenda as well. They want to learn whether your company is a place they want to be. The prospective employee wants to know what to expect in terms of culture, attitude, and approach. And that all starts with you, the interviewer.
As a tech hiring manager, you need to recognize that you’re the face of your company as far as candidates are concerned. That means your effectiveness at recruiting and hiring can come down to the impression you give during the interview process.
If you come into the interview unprepared or unfamiliar with the candidate or position, it will not only hobble your ability to assess the person’s qualifications, but it will reflect poorly on you and your company as well. If you appear aloof, impatient, or inattentive, or if you act condescending or disrespectful, expect to hear “thanks, but no thanks” from highly qualified candidates more often than you would like.
Interviewing Tips For Tech Hiring Managers
As you prepare for your next round of hiring, keep these ten interviewing tips for tech hiring managers in mind to give you the best chance of snagging the best person for the job.
1. Be prepared
As an interviewee, you no doubt spent time learning about the company and position so you would be able to deftly respond to questions, understand what the interviewer was looking for in terms of skills and qualifications, and ask thoughtful questions of your own. Put the same amount of preparation into your role as interviewer.
Thoroughly understand the requirements and responsibilities of the position you need to fill. Be able to identify the required software and/or hardware skill sets and desired qualifications. Review the candidate’s resume so you can ask insightful questions about their experience and career trajectory. Have questions prepared in advance. Don’t be that interviewer who appears to be reading a candidate’s cover letter and resume for the first time while they sit across from you in uncomfortable silence.
2. Attitude and attentiveness
This interview is a big deal for the person looking for a job. It should be a big deal for you as well. At a minimum, you should act like you recognize the importance of the interview to the candidate (as well as to your company). That means being engaged, interested, and focused. It also means treating the person and process with respect. No checking your phone or your email or excusing yourself to deal with another matter. Make it clear to the interviewee that this meeting is a top priority for you and demonstrate that you want to learn as much about them as you can.
3. Atmosphere and appearance
Keeping with the theme of respect and seriousness, conduct the interview in a comfortable and private setting. You want the candidate to relax, open up, and be conversational during the meeting, and you want an atmosphere conducive to that. Similarly, make sure that your appearance reflects well on you, your company, and the degree to which you consider the interview to be of importance.
4. Ask interviewees the same questions
Asking each candidate the same series of questions can be an effective way of drawing contrasts between them. It also reduces the likelihood of discrimination claims. This doesn’t mean that you need to ask interviewees only those same questions, just include them as part of the larger, naturally flowing conversation. After all, you’re a questioner, not a questionnaire.
5. Avoid open-ended and vague questions
“Tell me about yourself” is not a question, but rather an invitation for the candidate to tell their preferred narrative in a way that’s unlikely to give you any more insights than what appears on the resume in front of you. Ask specific questions about their roles and responsibilities and inquire about challenges or experiences that have impacted them professionally or personally. Listen attentively and take notes so you can ask follow-up questions and probe further.
6. Don’t talk too much
This may seem like an obvious part of being an effective interviewer, but you can easily find yourself doing a lot more talking than listening. No one likes “dead air,” and it is natural to want to fill an awkward silence. But if you ask thoughtful, targeted, and effective questions, the interviewee should be a font of useful information.
7. Avoid hypothetical questions
“How would you handle _____?” “What would you do if _____?” These hypothetical questions about how the candidate would act or respond in a hypothetical situation will only get you hypothetical answers. It’s easy to make yourself the hero in a story that has yet to be written. Instead, ask about actual events, challenges, or other difficult episodes and learn how the candidate responded – and what they would have done differently – to get a better sense of how they might deal with similar situations in the future.
8. Screen candidates by phone
Resumes can say a lot, but there may be threshold questions that they don’t answer. If one of two simple questions can determine whether you should even consider the person for the position, it can save everyone’s time to have a brief phone interview to eliminate those folks who simply don’t qualify.
9. Invite questions
As noted, the candidate wants to learn about the position and your company just as much as you want to learn about them. Invite them to ask questions and be ready to provide informative answers.
Once you’ve decided who to hire, respectfully let the other candidates know they did not get the position. Following up with other interviewees shows your appreciation for their time and effort, one that they will remember if another opportunity with your company arises in the future.
Whether you’re a first-time interviewer or veteran, follow these ten interviewing tips for tech hiring managers to ensure you put the right candidate on the payroll for your company. And if you’re seeking further recruiting help, don’t hesitate to contact GTN Technical Staffing to get answers to any of your questions.