How To: Conduct an Interview

So you’ve sourced candidates that seem suitable for your company or client, you’ve spoken to them over the phone and now you are at the interview stage… but you still aren’t really sure on how to conduct them.

Fear not, here are a few pointers to make sure you’re doing all the right things:

BEFORE

Take the applicants CV and covering letter into the interview room. Not only will they be useful for reference and to scribble on (by which I mean make notes – not doodles) but they will also demonstrate to the candidate that you are fully prepared.

Interview somewhere quiet and clean – remember, this is a reflection on yourself and the company/client you work for.

 

DURING

Begin each interview with an informal chat – ask about their weekend plans, see how their commute was, and if all else fails then complain about the weather – this will help to break the ice and hopefully shake any nerves.

Be aware though, the more time you spend talking the less time they spend demonstrating their skills and talent to you. So act as a host at first but then be sure to keep shtum as much as possible.

Using expressions such as “explain to me…” or “give me an example…” will often receive more detailed answers then “do you…” or “can you…”. (You want to avoid questions that they can answer with yes/no – if nothing more than it makes for a really boring interview).

If you use abstract or brainteaser questions then you run the risk of measuring a candidate’s ability to make logical abstractions, instead of how well they problem-solve and complete real life problems and tasks.

Write a sufficient amount of notes regarding the candidate (personality and interview performance) during the interview – or immediately after. Without these notes it will be harder to review the results further down the line when you may be comparing applicants for second interview or job offers.

Using the same questions/problems across different candidates can help you develop relative measurements. However, that isn’t to say that you only use the same format for years on end – always research new and interesting interview techniques.

To finish up, use a cue such as letting the applicant know that you’ll be in touch within the next few days or weeks – or whatever your time frame is – then thank them for coming in and stand up ready to shake hands.

 

AFTER

If you conducted the interviews with a colleague then once all interviews are completed, now is your chance to compare notes and discuss individual candidates. Be objective in your decisions!

Remember the question you really need answering is “Is this candidate going to fit into the company from a work AND personality perspective and will their employment fulfil the critical business need?”

 

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