October 11, 2022 | by Dr. Jia Wang

Identifying Talent Through Effective Interviews

Identifying ideal people for your company is the first step toward organizational success.

One strategic tool for accomplishing this goal is interviewing. This fall, MSCI hosted the second of a three-part Talent Acquisition webinar series, where I was privileged to lead an interactive dialogue with two hiring experts: Chantelle Andree of Russel Metals and Megan Ryan of Olympic Steel.

During this one-hour virtual session, we shared research evidence, personal experiences, and lessons learned. Collectively, we explored how to use interviews effectively to meet your talent needs.

If you missed this webinar, called “Identifying Talent Through Effective Interviews,” you can find it here. Here are some key points for you to take away.

Be prepared. You expect your candidates to do a great deal of preparation prior to attending an interview. But do you do the same as an interviewer? Do you take your time to learn about the job and its requirements? Do you know all relevant stakeholders who need to be involved in the interview process at different stages? Do you create a structured process to ensure the consistency of your interviews? Do you have questions that are specific to different candidates based on their resume, skills, and experience? Without adequate preparation, it would be difficult for you, the interviewer, to make an informed and fair decision.

Be respectful. Interviewing is a two-way process, so don’t approach it as an interrogation. While you are interviewing the candidates as the potential employees of your company, they are also evaluating you as their future employer. In this sense, don’t assume the candidates are automatically interested in working for you just because they have submitted their job applications. Remember the average tenure has shifted from four years to 18-24 months, and job hopping is no longer perceived negatively. It is a “sale” both ways. So, sell your brand by treating candidates with respect, by staying engaged and focused throughout the interview, and by providing timely and constructive feedback even if you decide not to hire them.

Be intentional. Assess your candidates in a holistic manner. For example, ask a mix of skill- and behavior-based interview questions; invite the top candidates to attend a company event or work with their potential co-workers for a day. Having interactions with the candidates on multiple occasions will give you an opportunity to observe them for a cultural fit, which is just as important as a skillset they will bring to the job. Furthermore, being intentional also requires the interviewers to make a conscious effort to ask good questions and exhibit effective interview skills.

Be open-minded. Some skills are transferable and transcend geographic location. Be flexible when it comes to education or experience—seldom will a candidate hit every “must-have” in their qualifications. They may not have the best resume or years of experiences you are looking for at the moment, but if they bring a positive attitude, strong work ethic, and passion for learning, then they are worth your investment. On the other hand, don’t rush hiring decisions just because there is an urgency to fill an opening or a lack of quality applicants.

Be objective. As humans, we all have biases; and as a result, we tend to draw conclusions based on the first impressions. Research shows that people are generally hard-wired to seek out common traits or interests in others. In the hiring process, this means that we will naturally gravitate to people like us. Good interviewers do their best to remain objective by keeping their biases in check and suspending their judgments.

Be transparent. Let’s be honest: you are hiring for the metals industry that demands hard physical work in a safety-conscious environment. Be truthful about what candidates should expect. They will appreciate your candor when you identify challenges they may face in the position.

Remember: As job interviewers, you represent your company brand. I propose the following questions as a call to action. Use them to evaluate your current interview practices and identify areas for future improvement.

  • Who is involved in the interviewing process in your company?
  • What interview process does your company follow?
  • What interview questions do your interviewers ask?
  • How effective is interviewing as a tool for helping your company find the right people?

Finally, on behalf of MSCI, I invite you to join me for the third of the three-part Talent Acquisition webinar series on December 6, 2022 at 10 a.m. CT. In this virtual session, we will explore how to onboard your newly hired talents. Stay tuned to your inboxes and this link for more information when it’s available.

Dr. Jia Wang is a professor in the Department of Educational Administration and Human Resource Development at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on international and national human resource development, organization crisis management, and learning within organizations.

To search, type what you're looking for and results will appear automatically