The job interview is an essential part of any recruitment process. It helps you as a company ensure you find the best candidate but can also be an opportunity for you to convince the applicant that this is the right place for them. To achieve both those objectives, you need to ensure you are delivering an effective interview so here are our top 5 tips to make sure you conduct the best possible interviews.
Why Is the Interview Important?
Before we run through our tips, let’s consider why the interview itself is so important. There are many elements you need to get right to have a successful recruitment process including writing a good job description, creating a slick process, and knowing what you are looking for before you start. One part of this process that is vitally important is the actual interview itself. This is probably the most essential stage as it helps you get to know the candidate better than any CV or assessment and gives you an opportunity to dig deeper into their skills and personality.
This is a two-way conversation though and just as much as the candidate needs to impress you, you also need to make a good impression with them. To help you do this, you should try to incorporate some of our top tips below.
1. Make It Personal
You might conduct several interviews for a position and the applicant may well be interviewing for multiple roles. This can easily make the interview a mundane exercise where you are just going through standard questions and the applicant is just reeling off the same old answers. Try to start the interview on the right foot by focusing on the person and finding out more about them. It will help you get a better understanding of them as a person and give them an opportunity to relax and ease into the interview.
2. Do Your Prep
When you have several interviews lined up and you still have the rest of your job to carry out it is easy to let your preparation slip and jump blindly from interview to interview. However, this not only means that you might miss out on asking the right questions but also signifies to the candidate that you don’t value their time or place importance on this role.
Take the time to properly read your candidates CV and look at any portfolio of work they may have provided; this will allow you to dig deeper on the areas that are most relevant or most of interest.
3. Structure Your Interview
While it is important that you allow some flexibility and encourage open conversation, it is also vital that you have an overall structure to your interview and a core set of questions that you ask each candidate. This gives you a consistent reference point to use across all candidates and can also help reduce any unconscious bias by using a uniform approach. Read more on how to reduce bias in your interview process.
4. Remember To Listen
It’s good to talk, but it’s better to listen. The interview should be focused on the applicant so try and listen attentively. Give them space and time to answer the questions fully and ensure you pay attention and ask relevant follow up questions. You are there to guide the conversation, but you should aim to speak around 20% of the time and listen for the other 80%. You should also encourage the candidate to ask their own questions and ensure you leave time at the end of the interview for this if required.
5. Create Effective Questions
Many job interviews follow a similar format and will have standard questions like ‘what are your key strengths/ weaknesses’, ‘why are you looking for a new opportunity’, ‘how would your colleagues describe you’. While these questions can be useful it is also good to throw in some questions focused on behavioural or situational questions that will give you a better understanding of how the individual would respond in a work situation. You should also consider asking questions that can assess the specific skills required for the role.
Getting your interview right can help you make the best decision when it comes to hiring. Make sure you are prepared, structure your interview for consistency but encourage a more open, personal conversation to put the candidate at ease and ensure you get to see their true personality.
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