How to Conduct an Interview

Posted by | March 5, 2017 |

Job interviews are crucial processes that determine whether candidates are suitable for the position you have available. It may initially seem like a pretty simple process, however interviews aren’t something that should be taken lightly. You want to hire a candidate that can take your business further, but how are you supposed to decide that they can do that in under an hour? Conducting a successful interview will determine that. If you’re able to achieve great engagement with your candidates, you’ll both be able to figure out whether the position is the right fit. Every company has their own way of conducting interviews, however there are a few essential steps that can ensure that your interviewing process is effective, and you can scout out the right person for the job.

Prepare for the interview

Prior to each interview, it’s important to really analyse and evaluate what you need in an employee. What qualifications, experience and skills do they need to have? How will they fit into your business? Make a little checklist if you need to – it could be useful to tick off these qualities as you go along. Make sure you thoroughly read the candidate’s CV before you go into the interview room. It may also be beneficial to highlight any points that you might want to question them on further. If you don’t read the CV, you won’t fully understand the type of questions that you’ll need to ask the candidate. Just as you expect the candidate to do their research prior to the interview, there’s a mutual expectation that you’ve done yours too. Read up on your company’s interviewing guidelines and equal opportunities policy. First and foremost, you should be able to prove that you understand the reprimands of discrimination and can make efforts to avoid clashes with the law at all costs. You may also be expected to ask specific company questions during the interview. This is your chance to really think about what questions you want to ask and cater them to that specific candidate.

Give an overview of the interview

When you first meet the candidate, it’s common practise to introduce yourself and any other members of staff sitting in, and then shake the candidate’s hand. Lead them into the interview room and then offer them a glass of water – this will instantly put them at ease. Before you begin firing questions at them, you should provide an overview of the interview. Explain how the interview is going to work and what they can expect to happen, so that they can get an idea of how formal or informal the situation will be. If you’re expected to take notes throughout, let them know that you’ll be writing things down as you go along. You’ll come across less rude that way. After you explain the structure, let them know that they’ll have an opportunity to ask you questions at the end. Although an interview is a test of a candidate’s reactions under pressure, you want them to feel comfortable.

Remember that an interview is a two-way conversation

Although you want the candidate to tell you about themselves, you must remember that this isn’t some sort of police interrogation. Interviews move seamlessly when you’re less strict about the questions you plan to ask, and instead go with your instinct. They may reveal a point of interest that you hadn’t discovered from reading their CV, so impromptu follow up questions would be suitable. You can really get to know a candidate in a short space of time if you have a conversation with them; they’ll be more at ease, so they’ll feel comfortable revealing their true self. On the other hand, give the candidate time to think about their answer if they feel that they need to. Reassure them that they can take some time to consider a great example of their experience, or to process what you’re asking of them. You need to remember that they’re nervous, so they may not be entirely true to form. Make sure you listen to what they have to say and try not to interrupt them mid-flow. This is their opportunity to sell themselves to you, so they deserve the freedom to provide full answers; you never know what you could uncover. The conversation will flow better when you respond to what the candidate is saying, rather than rigidly sticking to a script. If you relax, they’ll relax too.

Don’t oversell the job role

The biggest faux pas that an employer can make is making the position out to be something that it’s not. You cannot make any false promises or offer responsibilities and duties that the job role doesn’t cover. In the end, the successful candidate may leave the company if their promised expectations aren’t met. Instead, explain the position as it is. Every job has less than desirable duties – the candidate will understand that. It’s best to remain truthful about obligations and career progression.

Close the interview

Closing an interview can be trickier than it sounds. This is the awkward moment when you’ve run out of script and need to ad-lib until the end. Although this part may not be scripted, there are some points that you should make clear to the candidate before they leave. Firstly, you should describe what will happen after the interview. Suggest that you have a few more candidates to interview before you make your decision, and then offer a suitable timeframe that they can expect to hear back from you. If you’re uncertain of when that will be, reassure them that it’ll be as soon as you can. If your company’s policy requires a second interview after this one, let them know that that could be the case. Explain exactly what the next communication from you might entail.

Offer a candidate the job

This is the exciting part. Once you’ve finished the interviewing process, it’s time to decide who you want to take on. However, you should put yourself in the candidates’ shoes for a moment. Don’t sit on the task for ages while you complete other work in your task list; it’s incredibly frustrating to wait days, or even weeks, to hear back about how an interview went. Get the ball rolling as soon as you decide which candidate you’d like to employ. Whether you choose to hire them or not, they candidates will appreciate how quickly you’ve contacted them with a decision. Remember that the person you want may well be interviewing for jobs elsewhere, too. If you want them, you’ve got to let them know. This works similarly to offering a second interview. If you’re interested, don’t wait around. It’s recommended to call a candidate, rather than emailing them; it’s a lot more personal. If you’re lucky enough to work in a business with a HR team that deals with contacting the candidates, then you won’t have to deliver any bad news yourself. Similarly, it’ll be HR that informs the successful candidate that you’ve chosen them. If this is the case, it’s important that you explain to them why the candidate was unsuccessful. It’s inconsiderate to leave both sides of the phone call confused. The same goes for the successful candidate; explain why they were chosen and what they can expect from you next. If they accept the job, figure out a suitable starting date and get a contract drawn up as soon as you can. Hopefully you’ll have found the perfect asset for your team.