Today’s show is a double whammy, a two-part series tailor-made for all you leaders out there, whether you’re steering the ship in a big corporation or you’re the captain of your own startup. We’re diving headfirst into the wild world of interviews, and trust me, it’s not just about asking “Tell me about your strengths and weaknesses.” Nope, we’re going full Jedi mode here.

In part one, we’re going to prep you for creating a top-notch interview atmosphere, even if you’re not experienced at interviewing. My five top tips include how to prepare ahead of time, the fit between you and the candidate, matching expectations, and the interview location.

Make sure you follow it by listening to episode 54 where I share some of my favourite interview questions.

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Episode Transcript


Building Strong Teams: Interview Tips for Leaders (part 1)


Kate Peardon: [00:00:00] Today’s podcast is a two part series. We’re first going to be looking at some interview tips on how to create a great environment and how to prepare for an interview. These tips are great for leaders within bigger businesses and also for leaders who are founders and recruiting for their own business.

When it comes to interviews, it’s something that I help clients with, both in larger organizations and also in founder led businesses. Because getting the right people that are going to gel with your leadership style and are going to give the results that you’re looking for are key to getting the outcomes that you need and it all starts at this point of interviews. So this is something that you want to get right.

This is a two part series  today is about setting up for a great interview. And the next podcast is about what interview questions to ask. So let’s get into it.

Today’s podcast is for anybody that has had to do an interview or is going to do an interview. Hiring can be a stressful [00:01:00] process, both for you as the employer and also for the candidate, but being prepared with key guidelines can ease the tension and create a positive experience and a successful outcome.

After years as a positive leadership expert and executive coach and decades doing interviews, I’ve curated my best advice and top interview questions for you to add to your leadership playbook. Now these tips are useful for both interviews for contractors and also interviews for employees. Because at the end of the day, these people are representing your business and your clients don’t know or care how you’re paying them, whether you’re paying them as a contractor or paying them as an employee.

So it’s important that you interview and curate the best experience for the person that you are wanting to join your team, regardless of how you are going to pay them. Now, when you’re interviewing someone for a task or a job, getting caught up in the moment can be easy, especially if you’ve been looking for a long time, if it’s a tough market to find your best employees and you’re feeling eager.

So [00:02:00] having a few guidelines in place can help you keep things on the right track. Here are my top tips.

Number one, prepare ahead of time. Make sure you 30 minutes for a one on one virtual interview and allow about 60 minutes if in person. Then do some research on the candidate beforehand. Where have they worked? Do they have a LinkedIn profile or business website or Instagram? You’ll feel more prepped and ready to go with the information at hand. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for in a new employee and follow a template structure when interviewing multiple candidates. This consistency will help you in evaluating various candidates during decision time.

For a number of my clients who were looking at expanding their team, we work out what the ideal candidate would be, what they’re looking for, what the career opportunities are, and curate this interview template, so you don’t have to do it all alone.

The second tip is interviews go both ways. Sometimes I have experienced [00:03:00] that the person doing the interview feels that they have all the power and the other person will be lucky to work with them. I’ve also seen where they think that anybody that wants to work with them, they should be lucky to have them. And the thing with interviews is they go both ways. You want to make sure that the candidate is a good fit for you and you’re a good fit for the candidate. If it is too one sided, that working relationship is not going to last.

My third tip is be honest and clear. If you’ve listened to my podcast, you’ll know a quote that I have of Brene Brown’s, which is ” clear is kind”. So during the interview, it’s essential that the candidate clearly understands what the position’s daily responsibilities and expectations are, so they’ll know if their interests and skills align with the job.

If the candidate has different expectations for the role, They’ll likely get frustrated after they started, they might leave quickly or they could end up staying and be unhappy in the job. And you’ve got a bigger problem on your hands. I’ve also had the [00:04:00] experience where people undersell the position.

They think these are the jobs or the tasks that I don’t want to do. So if anybody wants to do them, then that’s great. So you might give them a less than ideal position description of what the duties are, but remember that your crappy tasks could be somebody else’s ideal job. So lay out the specifics and also the available opportunities for growth. Another thing that I’ve seen is people overselling the position. So saying that their opportunity is more than what it is, trying to please a candidate and get them on board.

The problem with this, they might join the company, but they are going to leave very quickly. Over promising and under delivering is not the way you want to build your company culture.

My fourth tip is put them at ease. If you are feeling nervous doing the interview, it’s okay to tell the person you’re interviewing. Let them know how important it is that you fill the position with the right candidate, and that’s why you’re feeling a bit nervous. No doubt they’re feeling a bit [00:05:00] nervous too, and being open actually makes you both feel more at ease in the interview.

I remember training a HR coordinator in how to do interviews, and she was so nervous because it was her first interview. I encouraged her to tell the candidate that this was her first interview and she’s going to be doing her best, but she might be a bit awkward in a few bits, and I was there to help her.

And the candidate, at once relaxed and said, Oh, I’m feeling a bit nervous too so it’s nice that we’re on the same page. The HR coordinator was really surprised that this was their response because she felt like she had to put on this front and be super professional. Interestingly enough by her explaining that she was just learning, and this was a key part of the development of their role, really helped the the candidate to see that that company walked their talk.

And my fifth tip is your interview location. If it is a virtual role, it’s completely okay to have a virtual interview. If you’re wanting them to work in person, [00:06:00] try to meet in person, even if you do a first virtual interview or first chat on the phone and then meet for a coffee at a local coffee shop or at your work location.

If you’re a founder of a business, people are joining your vision. So it’s really important that they meet you, even if you have a bigger team and someone else is doing the recruiting.

If you are a bigger business, often people will join a company, but they leave a manager. So you want to make sure that you are meeting with that candidate prior to them joining to make sure there’s a gel between the employee or potential employee and you as the manager. Otherwise, you’re going to be having a higher turnover of staff and back to the beginning of doing your interviews.

So they’re my top tips on how to create a great interview environment. Tune in to next week’s podcast where we’ll be looking at what are the best interview questions to have.

Thanks for listening to the podcast today.

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