Learning how to conduct an interview contributes greatly to a successful hiring process. If you are responsible for a hiring decision within a company, then being able to effectively carry out an interview is key! When you conduct a job interview properly, the candidate has a better chance of learning about your company. In addition, through the interview process, you are able to evaluate whether or not the candidate will contribute positively to the business. We know hiring is not exactly the easiest of HR processes, nor is the recruitment and selection process the most cost-effective. However, with a little guidance, you’ll be off to the right start. Having a clear idea of what it is you want to transmit in the interview and what it is you hope to discover about the applicant helps in selection. Jumping right into an interview blind is never a good idea, especially if you plan to secure top talent.
Do you know what kind of questions should be asked or avoided? As an HR admin, how exactly do you prepare for an interview? Is there anything else involved other than asking questions? If these are some of the questions floating in your head, then you’ll want to take a look at the tips we’re about to share that’ll help guide you in conducting an interview.
What to Know Before Conducting an Interview
Before the candidate walks through the door, you should set aside a sufficient amount of time preparing for the interview. Think about exactly what you want to say, and how to transmit the most accurate impression of your company. Additionally, keep in mind the position the candidate will be filling and the duties within their role. While preparing, it’s helpful to organize your thoughts into a list. Then, you can write out specific questions that will help you carry out a detailed evaluation of the candidate. Adequate preparation beforehand ensures that the interview follows a structure that allows you to gather all the pertinent information required to assess the candidate. As a note, there are a number of alternative forms to conduct an interview that we won’t mention here; however, you can read up more on that here: How the traditional interview is being replaced.
With that said, here are your tips for conducting a job interview and what you need to know before the steps to hold an interview kicks off. However, if you want to get straight into everything, head right over to the process to conduct a job interview.
Stress is the strongest opposing force
Remember, you are interviewing the candidate, which means they are going to expect you to appear confident in your role. If you’re feeling stressed, it may also set them off too, which could lead to an inaccurate assessment. On that note, it’s a good idea to provide the candidate with some prep ahead of time; this will not only help them but offers you the opportunity to view the candidate in the most natural way.
If a candidate doesn’t have a chance to prepare, their nerves can get the best of them, making them behave in ways that perhaps are out of character, or which may hold them back from showing their best qualities. In other words, it’s difficult to perform well under a significant amount of stress. Make sure you have informed the candidate of how they can prepare, in advance of the interview so they know what to expect. Providing applicants with interview guidelines (ie. how to dress), helps them feel more comfortable so they can show up in their best light.
Study the resume (cv)
Look over the candidate’s resume. Study their work history and background and become familiar with it. Reviewing the cv in depth ahead of time ensures that you maximize the time you have in the interview. Why? Many general questions are often easily answered with just a quick scan of someone’s cv. Then, in the interview, you have all the time to really dig deep into the candidate’s skills and abilities. You can also take the time to highlight any areas in their resume that may seem vague or unclear, or perhaps that contains something that may be unknown to you, such as a unique hobby. Allow the interviewee the opportunity to expand on those areas as it may reveal possible behaviors or personality traits that will have an impact on effective job performance.
Prepare role-specific questions
It’s important to create a list of clear and focused questions that you will ask each one of your candidates, especially if you want to compare answers. This, in particular, comes in handy when interviewing multiple people. With that said, each candidate is different so it would be good to personalize questions that you may only want to ask the particular applicant based on what you’ve learned from their resume. Varying the style of questions throughout the interview will help you pinpoint attitudes as well as intangibles that the candidate may have.
Even if you’re a veteran to interviewing candidates, it’s still a good idea to make sure you’re following the right process. If you are unsure of what the entire hiring process entails, you can download our free hiring checklist, before starting the process of recruitment.
Now, let’s get right into the thick of it. We all can optimize on our interviewing abilities. Here are the keys you should follow to ensure a successful interview process.
First impressions are everything. Introduce yourself and welcome the candidate respectfully. By greeting the candidate in a polite manner, you will help ease much of the tension that he or she may be feeling. Tell them a little bit about who you are and try to get a little personal, while still maintaining the role of the interviewer. Next, get to know the person as an individual before jumping into the matter at hand. This will be a good way to break the ice and kick start the interview. Also, be sure to have cleared the actual interview space from any kind of distractions.
2. Explain the interview process
Describe to the applicant what they can expect from the interview and the estimated duration. This will help keep the interview organized and set clear objectives for both you and the candidate.
3. Sell the company and the position
Take a few minutes to explain a bit about the company and its background. Inform them what you do, what your job entails, and the position that needs filling. Try to deliver a good job description of the business. This will be your chance to draw in the candidate and develop their interest in the role even more.
4. Begin with the general questions you prepared
The questions you ask play one of the most important roles during the hiring process. It’s important to ask about the candidate’s interest in the position. Remember to vary your questions, between those of behavioral and situational questions. You can’t get to know the applicant with questions that evoke a simple yes and no answer. There is also such a thing as “pointless” questions. You want to avoid falling into the trap of asking the kinds of questions that give you meaningless answers. For example, this could be something such as, do you enjoy coming to work? There is nothing wrong with the intention of the question; however, the problem lies in how vague it is.
5. Dig deeper
Expand deeper with more interview questions related to the applicant’s previous answers. These can be questions that you perhaps already prepared or ones that come up on the fly. Be sure to listen attentively to the candidate so that you can ask follow-up questions related to what he or she has said previously. Remember to maintain good eye contact as well. This action and attentiveness prove your seriousness towards the interview and most importantly, show them you genuinely care.
6. Welcome questions from the candidate
Don’t forget the welcome questions from the candidate. Now that you have completed asking what you wanted, provide an opportunity for the applicant to pose any questions they have. It’s important the candidate has the chance to ask anything that will help them feel secure about the job that he or she is applying for.
7. What comes next?
Everything has been covered and said…what next? Once you have all the information you need and both the hiring manager and the applicant are satisfied with the interview, it’s time to explain the next steps of the process. Indicate how long it will take for them to hear back from you, what the next step will be if he or she will be moving on in the interview process when the job commences, and so on. As a note, make sure you fulfill your word. It would be neither considerate nor professional to leave the applicant hanging when they’re expecting a response.
8. Conclude the interview
The way you close the interview is just as important as how you start. You want to show appreciation towards the candidate for having come and taken an interest in the role. Make sure to thank them for their time and assure them that you will be in contact with them. Regardless of what your final opinion might be off the candidate, it’s always good to leave them with a positive feeling. The way you see off the applicant contributes to the lasting impression they will have on you and your company.
These 8 tips on how to conduct an interview make a massive difference for the hiring manager and the recruiting process in general. You want to find the right person for the job and nailing the interview process is where it all begins.
Contributed by Natasha Dilena; Edited by Tanya Lesiuk