Striving for Interview success
Yes, you are great at making signs. You are a rockstar. Vinyl just so. Hand painting on point. You are the proud owner of how many 7/16” magnetic bits? You know your stuff. As a result, you and your amazing signage are now in high demand. Now you have more work than you can keep up with. It is time to hire. As good as you are in signage, you’ve never done an interview. Sure, you hired your sister’s kid to help during the school break but now you need to hire outside of your comfort zone. So, let’s prepare you for that. There are many online resources with lists of questions, strategies, and agendas to follow. Find one that works for you.
Once you’ve attracted candidates from posting the positions through various or select job posting sites, it is time to interview. To do that sit down, face to face, where you can see into their soul and make sure they are perfect for the job. Sorry to say that isn’t going to happen! Right from the beginning, it is important to know that likely the person you will hire won’t check all the boxes of the perfect employee. In my experience, I hired based on attitude and a skill set that I knew I could develop. Experienced employees came with bad habits & those fresh out of school came with ‘well my teacher said’ attitudes (don’t even get me started on that one!). I found I had to mold each hire into the person I needed them to be. But first, let’s get through the interview process.
Here are a few key factors to remember when planning your interviews.
On interview day, be as natural as possible. There is nothing worse than an uptight owner or manager, reading off a list of questions. It is unnerving for both. Remember this person you are looking at is going to ideally become your right hand. There is a relaxed repour that needs to happen and far better if that is established right from the beginning.
Outside of your list of questions, reserve time to have a free-flowing conversation. This can remain on the topic of signage. There is no need to ask if they are a cat or a dog person. This is a good time to tell a bit about your experience and provide a confidence marker that YOU know what you are talking about. This will also provide a good opportunity to review body language. If they can’t wait to leave, or are unengaged, this person is not right for you.
As mentioned, there are many online resources but take time to revise questions to suit your needs. Then become the candidate - think about the answers you are looking for, and how would YOU answer your own questions.
During the interview, you may get some responses that take you back. That has the fun of the process and you will learn a lot from those responses. However, some answers will provide a very clear yes or no on whether this person is right for you, your mission & the company’s growth. You may also learn a thing or two about the questions you are asking.
Asking hypothetical questions about task-related situations is important. You need to know their problem-solving mindset, which is critical in the sign industry. Daily, individuals in a sign shop or on-site will be faced with circumstances you will not be able to manage. It will be on them to think on their feet. How wonderful it will be for you to know their way of thinking to assure you mentor them to use their own resources but also think like you as well.
Likely and ideally, there will be more than one candidate you will interview, so take notes. You do not need to write down in length every answer word for word. Write down phrases, feelings, and expressions that impacted you. Unless something triggers you during the interview, you will likely not hire on the spot. During that time of reflection, review your notes to revisit the conversation and feelings you had during it. In the end, I did always go with my gut & it always paid off.
The Key is to strive not to be a dreaded experience for both you and the interviewee. Do not beat yourself up if questions are forgotten, if ‘you wish you had’ pops into your head. Take it in stride and as a learning experience. You have a lot on your plate, RockStar – and know next time you will be that much better.