A lot of entrepreneurs possess a dazzling list of skills. They’re good at math, have an incredible vision for their company, and have boundless positive energy. Conducting job interviews, though, is not one of those skills. In fact, a lot of entrepreneurs are simply terrible at it.
Maybe it’s because, as self-made business people, they’ve been through so few interviews themselves. Maybe, without proper HR training, perhaps they’re afraid they’ll accidentally break one of the plethora of privacy laws that loom over them in the process.
Whatever the reason, most young entrepreneurs would have more luck picking an A-level candidate out of a police lineup then they would from an interview.
So what are they missing from the interview process that makes them so terrible at hiring? Here are two words for you: group interview.
What About Improving Your Interview Skills?
Before you sign up for HR night classes or contract an expensive recruiting firm, give the group interview a try. You find out just about anything you need to know about potential employees during a semi-formal group interview.
“Group interviews show you who performs well under stress. Is the position at hand a high-stressed, fast-paced one? If so, consider a group interview, which will help simulate the stress and pace of the job at hand.” – Smart Recruiters
What Are the Benefits of a Group Interview?
The group interview holds a lot of powerful benefits. Obviously, it cuts back on the amount of time you have to spend on interviews. That’s great, but more importantly, group interviews give you instant insight into the leadership skills and culture fit of the candidates.
Who doesn’t want to save time and learn more about their candidates?
“In group interviews, interviewers can evaluate multiple candidates in the same time slot, thus saving the time needed that would otherwise be spent on scheduling and conducting many one-on-one interviews.” – Medium
How Do You Test These Leadership Skills?
Ask the group a question. It can be as simple as “What’s your favorite movie?” Then see who steps up to answer first. That’s usually a good indicator of leadership ability.
You can also use this opportunity to see who monopolizes the time when they answer, which is a massive, glowing, neon red flag.
You Can Weed Out the Duds
To get the best new hire possible, you want at least 200 resumes per position you’re looking to fill. That’s a lot of potential candidates and a lot of interviews to have one-on-one. That’s why you don’t start with one-on-one interviews.
The group interview helps you to weed out a lot of duds very quickly. Remember, in the group interview you aren’t necessarily trying to pinpoint the most suitable candidate, you’re just screening for cultural fit.
Don’t Put Too Much Focus on Only Cultural Fit, Though
Of course, just hiring based on how well a candidate fits into your company’s culture is a surefire way to give yourself migraines. In today’s speed-of-light-paced business world, the old adage “hire for attitude, train for skills” no longer applies.
Once you cull your list in the group interview, you’ll need to get down to some serious, gritty, old-fashioned one-on-one interviewing to really determine who can best fill your role.
Forget all the fluffy, HR-centric scenario questions. These almost always just result in the interviewee saying what they think needs to be said. Instead, focus on specific questions that relate to your company and the candidate’s potential role within it.
Remember, there’s a certain amount of… embellishment that goes on in any interview. Be sure to ask for proven past experience, and don’t be afraid to keep pressing if your gut tells you something is amiss.
Always remember, an interview is a two way street; you screen potential employees as much as they screen you as a prospective place to work. But keep it professional, organized and on point and you’ll undoubtedly find the perfect fit.
If you have questions or would like more information, I’d be happy to help. Please send an email, and my team will get in touch with you!
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2016 and has been edited for accuracy and comprehensiveness.