March 7, 2017

Why You Should Do a Second Interview When Hiring

By Paul Bieber

Easy answer: You will hire better candidates who will stay with you longer. Guaranteed by Paul. No question about it.

Okay, you put an ad in the paper or online for a left-handed, must-be-under-40 soda bottle opener to be your personal assistant for opening your Diet Coke… or some other position that might actually exist in helping your company succeed.

You get 57 resumes, call 15 people, and actually interview seven young southpaws who also enjoy Diet Coke. More than likely, you will hire one of the last three rather than the first four. After a day of interviewing, you can’t remember one candidate from the next, so you take the more recent impressions in your mind.

Here is where the second interview becomes important. Of the seven you interviewed, bring two or at most three back for a second look. Firm up your financial offer and details of your benefits. Prepare a couple of questions in advance to ask each candidate. The best question is to relate an incident in the area they will be working in; asking how they would work in the situation and if being hired as a supervisor, how would they handle it? Don’t make up a silly question. The candidate might not know the exact answer to your real-life question, but you will see how he reacts under pressure.

If the position is either important or has any contact with customers, you want to grab lunch with the candidate. Mention this when you invite the candidate back for the second interview. You want to see how polite she is to wait staff, or if he orders the most expensive thing just because it is a free lunch. Always ask the candidate to drive. You want to see how neat or messy his car is as this is an indicator of his future work. It doesn’t matter what make or model car, new or old. Ask the candidate to prepare a list of questions that were not mentioned in the first interview. No questions? No job offer. It shows no forward-thinking ability.

Take Mr. X on a tour of your place. Introduce him to people along the way. See if he really listens to the introduction, remembers your employee’s name and asks any questions that might help him decide if he wants to take your job offer. If you have a safety policy upon entering the plant, Have Mr. X put on his safety glass and a hard hat. See if he complains or says “Thanks.” On the positive side of this, by showing Mr. X where he will fit in, you will get more applicants wanting this job.

You are going to spend three hours on each second interview. It’s worth it because you won’t have to go through this again in 30 days when the candidate you hired after just after a first, brief interview leaves.