How to Conduct a Job Interview

When is comes to hiring decision, team fit and curiosity overrule skills and expertise. Someone can easily learn something new but adapting and developing your personality in a way that will make him a great team fit is not as easy and probably won't happen. Moreover, if you think for example of a soccer players: many excellent players that changed teams, didn't perform as expected because they didn't fit into the team. Some people even say that past performance, experiences and activities won't allow future predictions. 

To prepare for your job interview, prepare in general: come up with the things you want to tell the candidate about yourself, the company, the team, how you work with each other and what kind of team members you want. Make sure everyone in your team is on the same side but don't copy & paste something that will sound insincere.

Beforehand

Know the team values, requirements and the goal

Make sure you know your ideal candidate. Who are you looking for exactly and what values should the person have? We already collected several things today, that you think are important when it comes to your colleagues. These are the things you want to look out for throughout the interview itself.

The goal of the interview should be to leave a good impression on the candidate. You want the person to leave, knowling that this is a great company to work for. The person will tell this to his / her friends and maybe even write a good review. It could also happen, that you personally impressed that person so much, that you stay in touch later on and the person is willing to working with you later even if it didn't fit in the moment.

The other goal is to find out what the drivers of the candidate are. Does the person know what he wants: now and in the future? What should the team look like he wants to work with, what does he value in his colleagues, what are the things he wants to be doing on a daily basis, how does he interact with colleagues & find out about his career plans. Where does he see himself in the future, what skills does he want to deepen, what competencies does he see as career drivers, what are the things he seeks and what is he longing for?

Analyze the CV

What are the hints that the person already gave you in his / her cv. Did the person change jobs very often? What are the hobbies? Is there a common thread throughout the different companies and jobs? 

Give heads up

Let the candidate know beforehand what to prepare, what to expect and who will be in the interview. Make the purpose of the interview transparent: will it be more about testing the persons knowledge or about the team fit? Try to take as many question marks out of the way as possible. Does the person have to dress up? Where exactly is the office (btw: google maps doesn't show the address where it's actually at), which floor is it on? Are there many parking spots etc. If you develop a template for that you can easily copy paste it and use it over and over again.

During the Interview

Intro

Leave a great first impression. Make the candidate feel comfortable by welcoming her, showing her the office, let her have a glance at potential new team members, ask if she wants a coffee and don't make her wait. Thank her for taking the time. 

Connect with the person on a personal level. Connections are built on emotions and things people care about. Try to find things that connect you: hobbies, vacation, common experiences etc. Share something about yourself. If the person talks abbout her vacation, tell her about yours. By sharing things about yourself, you built up trust. 

Starter

Before asking the candidate any questions, you want to introduce yourself, the company, your team and talk about the open position. 

If you are not 100% sure about what to tell to the candidate, make sure you prepare this part once, maybe even in written form. Think through what the things are, that represent the company, the team, the position. Talk about company history, how it started, where you are headed, what the drivers are, why people work here etc. These are the things, that people love to learn about, that makes them connect to you and the company. You want to give people reasons to join, even if they already have some. Make sure the reasons you can provide and the ones that they already have are a match.

We were founded 2 years ago and were initially sitting with our company builder FinLeap. Savedo is a marketplace between consumers and bank that you can use to invest into financial products. We started with fix term deposits as MVP because there was a high acceptance in the market and a well known product so we didn't have to explain it much. Now we are expanding across locations and asset classes. 

In the long term we want to be the global advisor for financial products. You can imagine it like that: If you have let's say 10k to invest, we tell you what product works best for you meaning how to get the most out of your money. If conditions or terms change or new products are published, you'll receive a push notification. We want to be the place people turn to when they don't know what to do with their money. 

We are currently 52 people, 2 in Amsterdam. We are more than 25 different nationalities with people from germany, the netherlands, portugal, france, brasil, new zealand, india, US, south africa, cameroon, israel, egypt, turkey, hungary, argentina and a couple more. 

Here you can find some inspiration about how we work as a team. Read it, take out the things you want to mention and add things you also consider important. 

We like team members that are open to talk to and to receive feedback. We value team members that support others, are helpful, challenge the status quo, are eager to experiment, are respectful, warm, smart, intelligent, curious, driven, resourceful, great at teamwork and collaboration, straight forward, funny, modest, passionate and can handle change of ambuguity. 

The position will be about... You can imagine a normal week like that... Your responsibility will be ...

Do you have any questions about it? What did you like most when you researched about Savedo?

 

Leading the Conversation

You want to find out what the candidate expects from the work experience with you. You already work here, know what it's like and what is expected of you. Try to find out, if the candidate will be able to handle the expectations on a personal level and on the professional level. Hire someone who is motivated to pick up new skills and might not be able to meet the requirements 100% but will be a great addition to the team.

Possible questions:

How are you currently working with your team?
What do you like about the company you are working with right now?
What do you value most in your current team lead?
How would your colleagues describe you?
What do you expect from the new position? What skills would you want to advance in? What do you see yourself doing on a daily basis?
Imagine it's 5 years from now, you started at Savedo and are about to leave again or already working in a new company, what would you say was the things you values most about working here and what did you learn?

You will find some more interview questions here. Make sure to have two people in the interview: one person leading the conversation, one person to observe the conversation, reading between the lines, and picking up on things that might have been a bit hidden. For example: if the person asks 3 times about the salary, it seems to be quite important. You can directly ask about it: How important is it? What would meet your expecations?

Make sure, to find out if you can give the person what he wants. If not, it's not a good fit. Disappointed expectations are very hard to fix. So also make sure to give a transparent image about future perspectives. If the person wants to be working without interactions with the team and you don't work like that, be transparent about it. Don't make empty promises and directly address when you see there is some mismatch (e.g. an individual office - sorry, but it is something that doesn't fit our understanding of team work).

Ending the Conversation

Summarize the things that you have learnt during the conversation, also what you think the candidates expectations are. Ask if the person has any further questions. Tell the person something specific about the upcoming next steps. For example:

About the next steps: We will get back to you until the end of the day / or: the end of the week. We have scheduled some more interviews for this week and then want to take a decision. If you already have a feedback for us after the interview, it would be great if you could let us know about your decision so we know if we can keep you in the process. If we agree to work with each other we usually sign the contract one week after (or whenever) and ask you upfront about equipment etc. so we have everything ready the day you start. Thank you so much for taking the time to meet us. It was great to talk to you and get to know you a bit. 

Walk the candidate out / accompany him to the elevator. Make sure to say goodbye properly.