Optimizing The Interview - Recruitment & Retention
Construction Equipment Distribution magazine is published by the Associated Equipment Distributors, a nonprofit trade association founded in 1919, whose membership is primarily comprised of the leading equipment dealerships and rental companies in the U.S. and Canada. AED membership also includes equipment manufacturers and industry-service firms. CED magazine has been published continuously since 1920. Associated Equipment Distributors
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SECTION: Recruitment & Retention

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Optimizing The Interview


Article Date: 06-04-2007
Copyright(C) 2008 Associated Equipment Distributors. All Rights Reserved.

A few simple changes in the interview process can improve recruitment.

The two most important days in your newly hired manager's career will be the first visit to your dealership and the first day on the job. Hiring authorities should, therefore, make the interview experience as positive as possible, while at the same time using it to gain the information necessary to evaluate the candidate.

Before you schedule interviews, carefully read resumes and screen the candidates. Your time is valuable; focus only on those candidates who match the job description.

In a future column, we'll zero-in on development of a comprehensive position spec, but for now, let's assume you have a good spec: Use it as a pivotal pre-screening tool. Determine if the candidate really meets your desired qualifications.

Give the job spec and candidate resume to each interviewer on your hiring team, in advance. Set a schedule for interviews, and inform the candidate who they'll meet during the interview. Be sure to allow sufficient time for the interview.

Remember, first impressions matter. A pleasant, quiet and confidential setting for the interview shows you care. Always respect candidate confidentiality. Facility tours are part of "selling your company," as are company and product brochures and sharing the company history with the candidate. Arrange a two-way, one-on-one meeting, not a rigid grilling session.

Initial interviews should focus about 60 percent on the candidate's professional history and relevant accomplishments. Don't waste a lot of time on a resume re-hash. Have questions prepared.

Use the remaining 40 percent of the interview to explore the candidate's "fit" to your dealership's culture and the job. Explore the candidate's special skills, early background, social adjustment and goals.

Interview Tips

  • Follow the 80-20 rule - You ask 20 percent of the questions and give candidates ample response time.
  • Ask open-ended questions - Pull-out what you want to know. Use pointed follow-up questions.
  • Take notes - Memories fade with time and with multiple applicants.
  • Go beyond first impressions - Don't get caught-up into the "halo or horns" effect by letting appearance, smooth talk, or any single trait overpower your judgment.
  • Discuss compensation and relocation.
  • Ask for references and check them.
  • Provide closure - Be sure the candidate knows what's next. See if your candidate has questions.
  • Express your appreciation. Walk them to their car.
Sample Interview Questions

Following are some questions that should produce meaningful responses.

  • Who was your most influential mentor and why?
  • How do your personal and professional goals line up with your core values?
  • What was your most memorable accomplishment? Failure?
  • Why are you changing jobs?
  • Describe the ideal relationship you'd like with your boss?
  • How would you handle this situation? (Fill-in the blank with something relevant to the job).
  • What organizational tools do you utilize for projects and contacts?
  • What are the top three strengths you offer our company?
  • What attracts you to our dealership and this opportunity?
  • How interested are you and how soon can you start?
  • What help will you need from us to ensure success?
Following the interview, complete your notes before sharing perceptions with others. Then gather the hiring panel's input and make a decision. Keep the process moving. Losing momentum often results in losing "Mr. or Ms. Right." Follow these tips and you're well on the road to effective hiring. Look for future articles to help you "Hire The Best!"


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Article Categories:  Human Resources