How To: Conduct An Effective Interview
It’s our job to provide our clients with the best talent on the market. However, after we find the candidates, it’s your goal to hire the person that not only suits the role but also fits within your company’s ethos. This means having an efficient and effective interview strategy by extracting everything you need to know about your possible future employee. Here are our top tips on how to effectively conduct an interview.
Know What You’re Looking For
Even before you send out the job description or start prepping your questions, you need to dedicate some time to think about your ‘perfect candidate’. Look back at some of the employees that have previously filled the role and note the personal qualities that made them successful or unsuccessful. Make sure everyone involved in the process agrees with what you’re looking for so the hiring process can run as efficiently as possible.
Writing Your Job Description
After you know the type of candidate you’re looking for, sit down and write the job description. Make sure the hiring criteria reflects your requirements for the position. If your job description is too general you may receive a lot of applicants that don’t meet the standard of your expectations, resulting in a delayed recruitment process. Therefore make sure you know the difference between requirements and preferences, whilst keeping it as short and as relevant as possible.
Know Your Candidate
So you’ve publicised the job description and received a lot of applications from potential candidates; now you need to familiarise yourself with them. Go through everything each applicant has submitted during the process: CV, cover letter, portfolio etc. Note any areas needing clarification, such as quirky job titles, gaps in work history or hobbies that may reveal aspects of the candidate's personality that can have a bearing on job performance. It is as important for you to know your candidate as it is them to know your business.
Preparing Your Questions
Make a list of the important questions you will want to ask your candidates. While you won't read off this list like a robot, having it in front of you will ensure you cover all the bases and also make sure you ask each candidate similar questions. If you feel you want to ask candidates specific questions clarifying details in their CV, then include these in the list too. Put the interviewee at ease with small talk on neutral topics. A good way to break the ice is by explaining the job and describing the company: its business, history and future plans. Once the candidate is relaxed, you can begin to get into the heart of the interview. It is important to maintain as much eye contact with the candidate as possible so try to memorise the questions.
Have A Schedule
Set up a general structure for the interview so that as the meeting progresses, you reserve enough time to cover all the key areas you want to address. Your list of questions should be included within the schedule as well as how much time you want to spend on specific areas of interest. Adhering to a schedule will help you begin and end the session on time, allowing you to be more efficient and show that you respect the candidate's time.
Relaxed And Comfortable Setting
It’s vital to hold the interview in a room that is private and comfortable. Although this is the first time you will be meeting your candidate, it is also the first original impression your candidate will have of your business. If you conduct your interview in a messy room, it may deter them from your company. If your office is your only option, make sure your desk is tidy and have your calls forwarded to a colleague whilst you’re interviewing. This will allow you to fully focus on the interviewee. When it comes to conducting an interview, remember to think ‘how would I expect the interview environment to be?’ .
No matter whether the interview goes poorly or exceptionally, it is good etiquette to always follow up with your applicant. The candidate has spent the time attending the interview so it’s only fair that you show the same respect by giving them constructive feedback to help improve their future interviewing technique.