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Getting the Most Out of a Short Interview

It’s not an ideal situation, but every now and then, you may be forced to interview a candidate in a short period of time.  Perhaps there are many people you need to see by an approaching deadline or maybe the candidate is from out-of-town and the opportunity to meet is limited.  Regardless, whether it’s 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, if it’s less than the amount of time you typically spend to meet with a prospective employee, it can be stressful.

In these situations, you need to use your time wisely or else you’ll find yourself with nothing to evaluate.  It’s easy to get hung up on the wrong topics, send the interview in a different direction, and when the bell goes, you barely get what you needed.  Here are a few quick points to an efficient interview:Alarm Clock

  • Start on time.
  • Skip the small-talk and long introductions.
  • Keep questions relevant and avoid the fluff.
  • Be prepared! Plan all of the questions you’re going to ask ahead of time and prioritize them in case you run out of time.
  • Consider forwarding some questions to the candidate ahead of time so they can also prepare.
  • Highlight sections of the resume that you know you’ll want to refer to during the interview.
  • Set the timeline and schedule for the interview, then make the applicant aware of it.
  • Remember to schedule time for the candidate’s questions.
  • Make sure your speeches about the company and the role are quick, to the point and don’t ramble. There’s no reason why you can’t rehearse this ahead of time.
  • Know your target market when allocating time.  For example, you may need to spend more time selling the job and your company to a passive job seeker, while explaining the requirements and confirming qualifications with an active job seeker.
  • Stop the interview on time.  This will ensure you stay on schedule for the next interview.

As much as it could be an inconvenience, a well-planned short interview could actually tell you a lot about a candidate and how they react under pressure.  It will also help you improve the efficiency of your regular interviews!  Do you have any tips to add?  Let us know in the comments below.

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