Competencies Needed to be Successful

Julie Shenkman
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Interviews are, perhaps, the scariest part of the job application process. Nervous job candidates take hours to prepare for the big moment of face time. One question remains. Do you have the necessary interviewer skills to find the right candidate? Sometimes, hiring someone who fits the job can be just as frightening for the ones doing the interviews if they lack core skills.

FurstPerson explains talent selection ideas by attempting to address common mistakes firms make during the interview. Failing to hire the right person can affect profits, create negative press or even lead to lawsuits. A quality hire can make or break future projects. An apathetic interviewer can turn off a potential customer sitting in the hot seat. If the interviewee has evidence that information used to hire someone is not job-relevant, a lawyer may file litigation in court for damages and tell the media about it.

All these issues can be solved by observing the basic interviewer skills. As with everything, preparation is the key. Know the potential employee's basic competencies needed to be successful at the position. If the candidate has a chemistry degree and spent 10 years at a pharmaceutical company, why is this person sitting in front of you for a plant manager position? A thorough review of the person's professional background would have eliminated this candidate much faster.

Focusing on basic competencies for success lets interviewers have relevant, fact-based face time. If the person is hired, can he or she do the job well? The interview should be structured and based on what HR needs to know about someone's core personality. Finely tuned interviewer skills bear these traits out. Will this person be trustworthy, honest and admit mistakes? Can this person be counted on in a crisis situation? You need to know how to ask these questions before the interview even starts.

Avoid distractions from the overall purpose of the interview. One portion of interviewer skills revolves around listening. The candidate needs to speak 90 percent of the time because human resources experts get paid to vet potential employees. Earn your stripes by learning how to get the information you need without specifically asking for it.

One of the best questions to ask is not a question at all. When you say, "Tell me about yourself," that leaves the door wide open. How your potential employee reacts to this statement can make or break the interview. If you've done your homework, you will know whether or not the candidate simply re-spouts stuff already mentioned in a cover letter, or if the prospect gives you new and interesting information.

Rate and compare people's competencies after every candidate has a say. One major mistake with interviewer skills lies in deciding on a candidate before all the interviews are done. Take good notes, consult them later, and make a chart of pros and cons of each candidate. After your lists are complete, then go with your impressions to break any ties on the score sheet.

Practice your interviewer skills the night before. Bounce ideas off your spouse or your kids. A good interviewer knows how to draw out core competencies indirectly by asking relevant questions the right way. Your HR time is valuable, so try not to waste it by making mistakes.


Photo courtesy of studio tdes at



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