There is perhaps no other means of knowing about a potential employee than the face-to-face (F2F) interview. It is where the candidate is present in flesh and blood; it is obviously the best way to meet the person and get an impression about her. This is often the most important and effective introduction between the employer and the prospective employee.
This is one of the most difficult things to practice, because whether we like it or not; we are conditioned to developing impressions about a person after a first meeting. This is especially more uncontrollable during an interview! Truth is, no matter how strong we believe our gut feel about a person is; we could be totally off the mark. There are a zillion instances of us having found candidate to be excellent at the interview, the “where was this guy all these years” sort, only to see quite the opposite person at the job. Similarly, a dull-witted person could manage to get hired, and later perform miracles at the job. So, no matter how hard you find it, try to think of the interview as a meeting with which you assess, not judge a candidate.
Stick to what is relevant to the job
Another idiosyncrasy we in HR are prone to is shooting questions that are off tangent. Many interviewers from HR are tempted to ask questions like “what makes you nervous?”, “do you respect elders?”, “do you like the movies” and so on. Believe me, questions like these are very poor indicators of a candidate’s suitability. If it is the person’s personality that you need to assess; there are a million better ways to do it than to ask questions that lead nowhere. A smart interviewee can always wriggle out of any such “out of the blue” questions.
When you are done with the interview, make sure you make notes about the candidate when your memory about her is still fresh. Trying to keep some particular trait that stands out; no matter how strong it may be in that person, may not be a good idea after all. We all tend to forget things quite easily. If somebody asked you about an interview you conducted six months back, how well would you remember?
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