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How to Conduct an Interview

Keep in mind that your goal as a manager is to find the best person for the job and your company. If you set your sights on maintaining the highest good for everyone, instead of focusing on your own nervousness, you'll be in far better shape than you think. Remember that you know your stuff. You wouldn't be a manager if you didn't. You can be a good steward of the privilege by reminding yourself of your goals regularly.

Do your homework. Know the company policies inside out. Take time to reflect on the concerns you had when you were in the candidate's shoes. Write those concerns down and be sure to answer them, possibly addressing the issues before the applicant brings them up. Write down your agenda and stick to it.

By anticipating the candidates' concerns and making them feel welcome, you'll be more easily able to establish a rapport. Their technical skills will be on their resume and application. You need to get a handle on what kind of person they are and how good their "people skills" are. Remember what magnate John D. Rockefeller said: "I will spend more on a person with the ability to deal with others than any other skill under the sun." Know that interpersonal skills account for most of a person's career success. The applicants will demonstrate theirs based on the opportunities you provide
At a practical level, remember that we judge others most on how they look than anything else. Thus, others judge us the same way. Make sure your grooming is impeccable: squeaky-clean hair, hands, nails, ears, teeth. Shoes and clothes must be in good repair, laundered and pressed. Even if your company encourages casual clothing all the time, remember that managers are supposed to be leaders. So dress to look authoritative -- and sloppy never looks authoritative. Neither do sneakers unless you're Michael Jordan at a basketball game.

Go out to wherever the candidate is waiting and greet him or her. Smile, make eye contact and shake hands. Extend your hand first and shake firmly -- a wimp's handshake commands no respect, and we always make judgments based on others' handshakes. Thank the person for taking the time to apply for the job. This will cut down on tension and make your job easier as a result. Tell the applicants where to sit and ask to take their coats for them. Ask questions and really listen to the answers. Most people ask a question and, while it's being answered, the plan what they'll say next. Not a good move for anyone. Don't be afraid of pauses or still moments. Don't be afraid to take time to phrase your questions well.

When the interview is over, stand, shake hands again and thank the applicant again. See them to the door. Then go to some private corner, pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and breathe deeply.

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