Employers play a critical role in job interviews. Even though work is busy, it’s essential to think through how to conduct interviews. This will help you find the best talent and show respect for candidates who have applied.
Conducting a great interview also leaves a memorable impression with candidates who don’t succeed. It can even motivate them to apply for future roles.
Here are our top tips for conducting successful job interviews.
Recruitment is time consuming. Dealing with large volumes of resumes is overwhelming. Let a professional recruiter sift through the initial volume and focus you on top candidates.
Read resumes before interviewing. This is professional, polite and the best way to prepare. It also helps make candidates feel at ease.
Be on time and stay on time
You expect candidates to be on time, so you should be too. Starting an interview late or rushing a candidate out the door if you’re behind isn’t a great look. Leave enough wiggle room before and after interviews. This will help you stay on track and leave time to record notes after each interview.
Be professional and friendly
A warm hello, a shake of the hand and small talk at the start makes candidates more comfortable. It also helps bring out the best in them.
Introduce your organisation and culture
Some employers think candidates are entirely responsible for successful interviews. It’s a two-way responsibility. Fulfil your part by preparing a solid, short introduction of your organisation and culture. This will set the scene. Practice pitching your intro so you sound genuine and not like a robot.
Work on meaningful questions
Questions shouldn’t be designed to ‘catch candidates out’, but to assess their fit for the job. Tricky questions also make candidates feel they’re being unfairly tested.
Cover all bases
It’s relatively straightforward to cover necessary technical skills in an interview. Don’t forget to examine soft skills. Examples include communication and time management skills.
Remember to talk about cultural fit, important for retaining employees. If a cultural feature of your organisation is working in teams, for example, ask the candidate to describe a time when they did so.
Also think about personality and fit for the team. Sometimes interviewers fall into a trap. They select candidates with similar personalities to themselves, even though that might not be the best type of personality for the job.
Avoid closed questions
Closed questions make interviews uncomfortable. Soliciting ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers doesn’t give candidates an opportunity to shine. Here’s an example illustrating the difference:
Don’t ask: ‘Do you want this job?’
Ask: ‘Why you would like to work in this job?’
Establish eye contact during interviews
Connect with candidates, especially through eye contact (which you can’t do effectively if you’re taking notes, which is one reason to use a scribe—see section further below.
Don’t dominate the conversation
Avoid jumping from one question to another without engaging with the candidate. Don’t dominate the conversation. If you do, you’ll miss opportunities to learn the most you can in your short interview timeframe.
It’s natural for candidates to have the jitters. If they stumble or seem nervous, put them at ease. Be patient. Smile. Reassure them it’s OK to take their time.
Ask the candidate if they have questions
If you do all the talking and ask all the questions, you’ll miss out on learning everything you can about a candidate. It’s also good practice to give candidates a chance to ask you questions.
Engage a scribe
When conducting several interviews (often back-to-back) you won’t remember all significant information about each candidate. Using a professional scribe to record interview content will free you to focus on the interview.
Only engage a scribe who is expert at accurate, detailed and timely. Our scribes are highly skilled, qualified and proven performers.
Say thanks and confirm next steps
At the end, thank each candidate for submitting a resume and coming in for an interview. Acknowledge your appreciation for their efforts.
Also be clear on next steps and timeframes so the candidate doesn’t wonder why you’ve left them dangling.