While conducting an interview may seem simple, it’s not an easy task. It is however one of the most important activities you would ever carry out as a boss. The cost of a bad hire is steep, and we are not just talking about salary. Training costs, severance payments, hiring a replacement, and customer service problems are things that can significantly impact a business’s budget.
Here are some tips for conducting an interview effectively:
1. Be prepared
Preparing for the interview is the first step to conducting a job interview effectively. Begin by reviewing the job description and take detailed note of what you’re looking for in a candidate. You must also go over a candidate’s resume so that you understand their work history. Consider the needs of the job role and then compare them with the education, experience, and skills of the candidates. You can use these requirements to frame intentional interview questions to hire the right people for the job.
2. Start slow, safe, and personal.
For those who are wondering how to start an interview, begin by putting the candidate at ease. Most candidates attending interviews are anxious and nervous. When we make a candidate feel comfortable, we see their true personality and not the nerves. Some may argue that it is a good way to understand how a person performs under stress, but that should not be the only barometer for judging a candidate. Start with questions like, “Where did you grow up,” or “what was your first job out of college. This relaxes the atmosphere, starts the conversation on safe ground, and also enables you to get a sense of where your subject is coming from.
3. Ask some open-ended questions
Ask some open-ended questions, such as, “What is your vision for yourself five years from today?”. Be prepared to improvise based on different responses. You can run through some “what-if” responses you might expect and note how you would follow up to each scenario. If your applicant is shy and gives answers that are too general, dig for more detail. Sample questions include, “Why did you leave your last position?” “What do you see yourself doing in five years?” “What management style helps you do your best work?”
4. Ask specific questions related to the job.
Before getting started with the interview, it is always useful to have a list of questions ready which are related to the job. Such questions can give the interviewer an opportunity to see how closely aligned the candidate is with the duties and responsibilities of the position. If there are multiple candidates, preparing a list of questions beforehand can also help us compare the answers of different candidates.
5. Review the Candidate’s Resume Before the Interview
This may seem obvious, but by preparing your interview questions and reviewing the resume, you’re showing the candidate that you’ve taken the time to ensure a productive interview. It also saves your time and can help you to avoid any potentially embarrassing questions based on a misread of the resume during the interview.
6. Be aware of Your Nonverbal Signals
Just as you’re looking for eye contact and appropriate dress, the candidate is looking for those unspoken signals from you. Be sure your tone of voice is appropriate and professional. Clearly articulate the job’s duties and the company’s mission. Dress as you normally would and pay attention to manners. You’re a representative of your company and department, so make sure your actions reflect this.
7. Listen more, talk less.
The interview is mostly about the applicant, so listen attentively. Pay attention to non-verbal cues such as posture, alertness, dress, and personal grooming of the candidate. Note if they have done their homework about your company. Leave time at the end for the candidate to ask you questions. You can provide insights about the company, your management style, and even “sell” the position. Most importantly, remember to take notes.
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