How to conduct an interview

How to conduct an interview

28 Jan 2022

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Being a good interviewer is of the utmost importance if you want to recruit the best people for your company. The time and effort that you invested into finding the right job candidates will go to waste if you don’t know how to select the best among them. Unfortunately, selecting the best candidates isn’t easy and there’s almost an expectation that the person who’s interviewing you is a seasoned interviewer. Of course this isn’t always the case.

This article aims to offer practical advice on how to conduct an interview, how to prepare for an interview, what kinds of questions to ask the candidate, as well as how to determine if someone is right for the job.

How to prep for an interview (as the interviewer)?

Selecting the best person for the job isn’t as simple as hiring the candidate with the best skills and the needed experience. The person you hire needs to be the best choice not only for the position, but also for your company culture.

If you want to be a good interviewer you need to ask the right questions in the right way, maintain the right demeanour and read your candidates’ body language. Being able to select the best candidates and provide a great candidate experience are the key to a successful job interview. Being a good interviewer requires a lot of knowledge and practice.

Step #1: Review the job description

You need to know every detail of your open job position and have a clear idea about the candidate’s job duties, job responsibilities and job requirements. 

Step #2: Have a clear picture of your ideal candidate

Before you start interviewing, you need to have a clear picture in your head of your ideal candidate. Have a clear idea of this person’s characteristics, skills, knowledge and experience, as well as motivation and interests. 

Step #3: Develop a rating system

Develop a rating system with precise criteria for each and every one of your selected job interview questions, otherwise you won’t be able to assess your candidates’ answers in an objective and transparent way. 

Step #4: Research job candidates

Make sure you know who the best candidates are on paper by reading over their CV’s. This is will help you get an idea of which candidates are more qualified before the interview process begins.

Step #5: Prepare your pitch

The same way you are evaluating candidates, they are also evaluating you and your company. Make sure you have prepared a pitch to promote your company’s culture, perks and benefits.

Tips on how to structure an interview

How to structure a typical interview

Before we look into what sort of questions you should be asking in an interview, we thought it would be helpful to outline how to structure a typical interview and how to deliver the intended questions. We have listed some tips below:

Tip #1: Outline the interview structure

Outline the interview structure for the candidate right at the beginning of the interview. This will make candidates feel more in control, helping them to relax and feel more at ease. 

Tip #2: Conduct structured interviews

Print out your questions and bring them with you to the interview site. Stick to your questions list and ask all candidates the same questions in the same order.

Tip #3: Make it a conversation

Don’t wait for the candidate to stop talking to ask another question, try and make it a conversation! Engage with your candidate as you would in a regular conversation in order to make you both feel more relaxed.

Tip #4: Take notes

You won’t remember everything your candidate said, especially if you have multiple interviews in one day- take notes! A good interviewer has scorecards printed out on paper and uses them to make notes as it removes any physical barriers between you and the candidates.

What kinds of questions should I be asking?

Now that you will have determined what preparation needs to be done and the general structure of an interview, it is time to look at what kinds of questions you should be asking. We have listed some popular interview questions below, that should help you to gain a deeper understanding on the candidate.

What do you know about our company? - Ask this interview question and you’ll find out quickly who is sincerely interested in working for you and who isn’t. If they haven’t prepared for the interview beforehand then you can normally assume there is a lack of interest.

What skills and strengths can you bring to this position? - Applicants should be able to think critically about how their abilities will benefit your team. If they have a good answer to this question then it shows they have understood the role and what they can contribute.

Can you tell me about your current job? - This should help you evaluate communication skills, while gaining insights into an individual's background.

What could your current company do to be more successful? - This can help to give you a sense of whether interviewees see the bigger picture at their organizations.

Do you work best alone or on a team? - This question helps determine if they’re suited to the types of assignments they’ll receive whilst working for you. Regardless of if they'll work remotely or not, someone who enjoys solely working alone may not thrive in a position that requires collaboration and team work.

How would your co-workers describe you? - This can help shed light on the candidate's soft skills and how they might work with the other members of your team.

Does your team frequently face challenging time constraints? - Ask this interview question of a potential employee to help gauge their opinion on dealing with stress and whether they can keep up with the pace of work at your organization.

In your most recent role, was there a time when you had to overcome a significant challenge? - Use this question to get a sense of an interviewee’s critical thinking and analytical skills, pay attention to how the individual describes their behaviour when faced with a challenge.

Do you have any questions for me? – Use this question to wrap up the interview. Some candidates will have prepared a few questions, but if they haven’t then don’t look at that as something negative.

Finding the right person for the job

How to determine whether someone is right for the job?

In order to determine whether someone is right for the job you need to think about what they will contribute to reaching your organisation’s goals. Make sure that although they might seem qualified, will they be the best person for your organisation We have outlined a few top tips below:

Identify your company and team goals – The candidate is not a good match if they can’t help your organisation reach its goals. Although they might seem qualified on paper, are they the right employee for your organisation?

Remember company culture – Your company has a culture and the candidate must fit in to that in order to fit the role. Even if it seems like a perfect match, if they don’t match the company culture then it is likely the candidate won’t feel at home.

Consider work style – Jobs can accommodate numerous work styles, but making sure the role and the candidate are compatible is still important. Everyone has their own work ethic and making sure their work style matches your company is important for getting the most out of the employee.

More about Continuing Professional Development

We hope this article on how to conduct an interview was helpful. If you are a training provider looking for CPD accreditation for your training courses, workshops and educational events, please visit our how to become a CPD Provider page or contact us to discuss in more detail. 

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