Repeat after me, “hiring is a core part of my job”. It is a first class reponsibility of your job to be involved in the hiring process as much as you can. You are not doing anyone favours when you take interviews for your team or for other teams. In fact, you are doing yourself a favour. By committing to high interviewing standards, you are making sure that the right tone and the right message is conveyed to the potential candidates. This will ensure that you hire the best, not just the best you were able to interview. In the long term, you would be working with a bunch of very smart and talented people.
How do you achieve high interviewing standards? How do you make sure that the job seeking community recognizes you as the firm to work for? By being professional and dedicated to the role you are playing in the hiring process. If you are a HR person, remember what the H in HR stands for. Treat the candidates with respect and value their time. Be responsive. Do not be condescending or unpunctual. Remember that candidates form first impressions based on interactions with you. The right kind of interaction will leave the candidate happy and glad that he interviewed with the firm. But the wrong kind of interaction, even a brief one, can leave a bad impression on the candidate.
If you are a developer taking technical interview, you need to make your interviews interesting. Remember when you ask the candidate at the end of the interview if he has any questions? Chances are, you have already answered a lot of questions during the interview process. Asking the right kind of questions to screen/evaluate the candidate is what you generally focus on. While that is important, what you also need to keep in mind is that the interview is a two way process. While you are forming opinions about the candidates based on their responses, the candidates are forming opinions of their own based on your questions. Try and make the interview a dialogue instead of a Q&A session. Ask questions that will tell you what kind of a programmer the candidate is rather than how many design pattern names he has committed to his memory. Show him that you are smart, interesting and passionate about programming, someone he would like to work with.
If you are a hiring manager, make sure you talk to all the candidates who qualify a certain criteria or clear a certain screening round. You should explain the role, the work that your team does, the interview process and provide a point of contact for the whole process. Your early involvement, however brief, in the process will send the right kind of signals. Train your team, keep on an eye on HR and locate any red flags in the process. Make your team understand the importance of being responsive, energetic and charming in their interviews. Tell them to treat every interview as if they were interviewing John Resig. The challenge is to keep the energy levels consistent. It’s tough, it’s hard, but that is one of the reasons they are paid, to do their job. This is part of their job.