When I first opened my studio over 20 years ago, I had a big learning curve when it came to all things human resources-related—interviewing, hiring, firing, payroll, benefits, and everything in between!
One of the biggest lessons I learned right away is that hiring great people for my team was a lot of WORK, especially when it came time for interviews. It was not always easy to discern who would really be a good fit for the team and it took way more preparation than I thought! But just like with dance, practice makes progress, and I’ve made a LOT of progress.
I’ve also discovered that I really enjoy providing meaningful career opportunities for others. Watching people flourish in their roles at the studio is one of the most fulfilling aspects of running a business! And it all starts with getting the right people on board in the first place, which means making sure the systems behind the interview process are in top-notch shape. With that in mind, I created this list of 6 Best Practices for Interviewing Job Candidates, and I hope it will serve your studio as well as it has mine!
Implementing these ideas has had a profound effect on my hiring choices and continues to inform my decision-making when it comes to bringing new people to our team. Keep reading to see my 6 Best Practices for Interviewing Job Candidates.
- Consider a pre-interview screening
Before you begin a series of interviews, think about implement one more step: the pre-interview submission. This could be done by asking the applicant to complete a short questionnaire via email, having them leave a voice message, or upload a video introduction. Any of these methods will allow you an additional screening before taking the time to meet someone in person.
- Use the first interview as a simple getting-to-know-you meeting
Don’t expect to get too much done in the first face-to-face interview. What do I mean by that? Well, use that meeting a little like a first date: ask basic questions, read the candidate’s body language, and do a gut-check on whether you think they would be a good culture fit for your studio.
- Always interview at least twice, probably more
I am a big proponent of “hire slowly, fire quickly,” meaning that if I’m going to invest the time, money, and energy into hiring for a position, I want to be very sure that we’re bringing in someone who will be the right match for that role. Rushing the process only risks potential problems. For example, an initial interview, lunch or coffee interview, and a sample class interview are part of my go-to process for hiring new teachers.
- Ask open-ended questions
Remember that asking questions that begin with “What,” “How,” or “When,” can be great openers into deeper interview questions, such as “How would you handle this type of situation?” Other great questions can come from prompts like, “Tell me about a time when …” or “Describe your experience with …”
- Find out what the candidate knows about you
Ask what research the candidate has conducted on you or your studio; someone who is very interested in the job and does their homework will probably have a few things to say! I always like hearing from candidates who share what they like about the studio or have questions about our programming, because it shows their curiosity.
- Take good notes—and not just about their answers
Remembering every little thing a candidate says in an interview is probably not necessary, but I do like to be able to review my notes days later and get a sense of my instincts at the moment. For instance, I’ll make note if the person was extra-prepared (or not enough), if they dressed appropriately, if they were on time, and if any of their behavior during the interview requires further questioning.
Once upon a time, I thought owning a dance studio was all about dance … but of course, it’s about so much more! And one of the most rewarding parts is hiring amazing people for your team. It isn’t always easy finding those people, but with these best practices in place, you can feel more confident than ever that the right candidate is just an interview away!