Conducting a good interview is not as simple as it sounds but there’s some basic preparation that you can undertake to make the experience productive and successful.
Here’s our top tips on how to conduct a good interview…
Interviews work both ways
Remember that you will actually be interviewing each other. Candidates will come with their own set of questions, expectations and leave the interview with an impression of the company and of you as a future colleague. How an interview goes, and the conduct of the interviewer, often impacts their final decision about whether or not to accept the role. On the day of the interview ensure that you greet candidates with a friendly manner and put them at ease with some small talk before the formal interview begins. Ask about their journey, if they need to use any the facilities before you start and offer them something to drink in the interview.
If you are setting tasks for candidates, work out whether you want to know their results before or after the interview and also determine how important their results ultimately are. Tasks should be relevant to the individual role and be conducted somewhere quiet and private.
The location of the interview is more important than you think. Some interviewees even see the location of an interview as an indication of the importance of the position so think carefully about where you will conduct it. A quiet meeting room is usually best, with as few distractions as possible, and ensure that you will not be disturbed by other parties. Make sure the room is set up with enough chairs, copies of their CV, notepads and any ‘ready to go’ IT equipment if you are asking candidates to conduct tasks/presentations.
Keep it simple
Don’t include anyone in the interview who doesn’t need to be there. Ideally, there should be a maximum of two interviewers, as any more than this can cause a lack of focus for the interviewee and also a repetition of Q&As. If you are interviewing alongside a colleague make sure you meet up prior to the interview to ensure you know who is taking the lead and to compare questions so there’s no repetition. Set a time limit and an agenda for the interview by breaking up the total time into set discussion segments. These can be based on the key objectives and responsibilities of the role. This format will help you lead the conversation, ask questions and allow the interviewee to give relevant examples of their accomplishments.
It sounds straight forward but review the candidate’s CV and work out what you really want to know. Think about:
- What about their CV initially impressed you?
- What do you want to know about their previous positions?
- Do you need specific examples of core competencies? i.e. leadership, communication, handling conflict etc.
- Are there any elements on there CV that concern you or require further questioning?
- How will you ascertain their style of working?
- How will you ascertain if their personality fits with your team/company dynamic?
- How will you test/ascertain that they have the relevant skills required?
Asking yourself these questions will help you set an agenda and lay out the interview questions that you need to ask.
You should also be prepared to answer questions from your candidate. Make sure you’re ready with relevant HR information such as policies on healthcare, holidays, promotion structures and incentives. Beyond the role itself, you will need to create a positive impression of company culture and convey why a candidate would want to work with you. Check out our post on company culture here.
After the interview
Immediately after the interview write a summary of the candidate including your thoughts and feelings about them and the interview. This will help you make a decision more effectively later on. If interviewing with a colleague, discuss the pros and cons of the candidate in detail. If using a recruiter then feedback the same day while the experience is fresh in your mind.
If they are the right person for the job then don’t delay! Great talent isn’t on the job market for very long and a slow hiring process can mean you may miss out on the ideal candidate!
Good luck with your interview!
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