7 interview techniques to conduct an effective interview
An interview might seem like a straightforward process, and it’s easy when you’ve got a plan to execute it. You can use the following 7 techniques to ensure that it’s effective:
1. Prepare for success
Preparing yourself adequately will ensure that you have everything you need and can take the candidate through the interview seamlessly. Choose a location that has few distractions and where both you and the candidate will be comfortable throughout the interview. Reserve a place where you will conduct the interview to avoid surprises during the interview day.
2. Start strongly
Starting strongly involves putting the applicant at ease and setting the course for the interview. Establish eye contact and make some small talk to make the candidate feel comfortable. For example, you can start by telling them something brief about your company and outline the position they have applied for. Explain the structure of the interview and make the candidate know that they are free to ask questions at any time and check for understanding. Then you can proceed and start interviewing the candidate.
3. Assess the candidate early on
Use the candidate’s CV as a prompt to get more information about their background. This involves asking open-ended questions to lead them and then listening carefully without making interruptions as the candidate sells themselves. Use the questions you had prepared and try as much as possible to ask similar questions to all candidates so that you can have an easier time comparing their answers later on. However, be prepared to improvise, depending on particular responses to seek clarifications on certain aspects of each candidate.
4. Keep the interview conversational
While you are looking for a great candidate to add to your team, candidates are also looking for the best company and a job that best suits their needs. This means that you need to give them a positive impression by acting professionally and allowing the conversation to be casual. This involves leaving time for a candidate to ask questions. This also helps to know whether the candidate is still engaged with the interview.
You can insert information about the company that you think can impress the candidate or things that current employees enjoy. This can help to encourage the candidate to accept your job offer if you think they are an ideal pick for the position and your company. Ensure that you make the job opportunity appear as attractive as possible to your best candidates and encourage them to want to work for you. For example, if your organisation offers unique perks to its employees, like health insurance or an on-site gym, be sure to mention them as you proceed with the interview.
5. Understand what you cannot ask
Ensure that you only focus on the job and work environment as you query the candidate and seek to discover more about their skills, qualifications and experience. When you delve into the candidate’s personal life, ensure it’s only peripheral and you only ask about formal things. This allows you to protect yourself and the company from a discrimination lawsuit. The general questions to avoid include those centred on a candidate’s gender, race, race, age, country of origin, marital status, religion and family status.
6. Take notes
Since you will likely interview several candidates, it could be hard to recall all their responses later on. The best way that you can capture the details of their specific skills and qualifications is by taking notes. You should structure and organise your notes properly to make them easy to refer to later on.
The notes will come in handy when you compare several candidates and make an informed decision on the one that best fits your company. If you want to only focus on the interview and not write, you can have someone else in the room take notes.
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7. Close the interview and follow up later on
Finish the interview by summarising what they said and offering clarifications. Ask the candidate if they still want the job and find out about any obstacles that could prevent them from starting out. Also, explain the method of communication you will use after the interview and offer a timeline.
Make sure to give feedback after the interview. This can include sending rejection letters to the candidates you reject and conversely contacting the successful ones to give them the good news. As you send rejection letters, be positive and tell the candidates what they did well and explain the things they can improve on before you thank them for their time. A rejection letter is a professional way of thanking the candidate for their effort and time. It also ensures that candidates always have a good impression of your company and you can attract top talent in the future.