8 ways to conduct a successful interview

3 June 2016

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In many ways, the role of the interviewer is just as important as the role of the interviewee. Scrubbing up on those interviewing skills and techniques will not only benefit you as a company, it will also ensure that you do not make any critical hiring mistakes that can be a very costly thing to recover from, with the total said to exceed the yearly salary of an average position.

Interviews are not only a chance for the interviewee to sell themselves to the employer, but also for the employer to sell themselves to the interviewee. If this candidate is great and has all of the skills and knowledge that you require, you’re going to want them to join your team. But who’s to say they haven’t got another interview lined up tomorrow with another leading organisation? So it’s important to give them reason to want to be a part of what you have to offer, because if you don’t, it’s likely that someone else will.

We’ve listed 8 simple ways of conducting the most successful interview, one that will not only ensure you get the vital information you need from the candidate, but will also guarantee that you come across as an employer they’d love to work for.  

  1. Humanise the conversation – It’s important to try and relax the situation as much as possible in order to get the very most out of the candidate. Yes, the likelihood is they’re going to be quite nervous, you may also be as well, so starting the interview with some general light-hearted conversational interaction may loosen them up ready for the real questions.
  2. Know the criteria and what the job entails – If you’re a HR professional interviewing for a specific role that you’re not 100% clued up with, it’s important to do your research before the interview commences. In an ideal situation, the line manager would be present to ask the specifics, however, it’s always good to prepare yourself for the worst. If the line manager is unavailable or has to step out for some reason, you’ll be fully equipped to continue.
  3. Have a structure in mind – Interviews tend to only last between 45-90 minutes and so it’s best to use the time wisely. The best way of doing that is to plan each individual stage and how long you’re going to want to spend covering that specific topic, particularly if you’re going to want the candidate to deliver a presentation or even complete a task at a later point.
  4. Ask a range of questions – Mixing up the questions a little will encourage the candidate to provide more in-depth answers, particularly open-ended questions. You can ask fact based questions, asking what they know about a particular subject, or hypothetical questions, asking what they would do if a certain problem was to arise. Behavioural questions are also popular, asking the candidate to draw upon their previous experiences in relation to a topic you have given and how effectively they dealt with the situation.
  5. Don’t be a robot – It’s OK to go a little bit off schedule, if anything it’ a good thing. You don’t want to come across robotic, reading question after question. If the candidate has said something interesting that raises another question in your mind that you hadn’t initially intended to ask, go ahead and ask it, otherwise it might bug you later!
  6. Pause for a little – We think it’s always good to remain quite (just for a couple of seconds) after the candidate has finished answering a question. Sometimes, a few seconds of quiet time may allow the candidate to think of something else and to add something more valuable to what they’d previously been explaining – giving you more to go by when it comes to making a hiring decision.
  7. Don’t just take notes – There’s nothing worse than feeling as if the person you’re talking to isn’t actually engaging with you. If you’ve got your head buried in a clipboard writing frantically, it’s likely you’re going to miss something important that the candidate has said, or even put them off altogether. You want to interact and engage with them. Let them know that you’re taking in everything that they are saying and only writing down the key stuff.
  8. Don’t talk too much – The more you talk, the less the candidate will, meaning you’re less likely to find out what you need in order to judge whether they’re suitable for the job. Take a step back and let them do the talking, only jumping in as and when you really need to.

For more information about how we can help you, our clients, to hire the best candidates, get in touch! You can also read our article on how to recruit only the best employees for your business or even how onboard your new starters most effectively.

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