Intelligent interviewing: 27 tips for interviewers to conduct great interviews

With low unemployment rates, candidates can now be more selective about the employer they want to work with. 

It's more important than ever to be a good interviewer. This is especially the case since CareerBuilder found that 74% of survey respondents have hired the wrong person for a position. 

As an interviewer, you should do all you can to gain valuable interviewing tips to reduce the time to hire

Here are 27 tips to help you prepare for an interview.

Just how do interviewers prepare for an interview? 

The success of an interview largely depends on preparation. 

Interviewers should spend the majority of their time getting ready for the interview. The more prepared an interviewer is, the better chance of securing the right person for the job. 

So, here are our tips for interview preparation:

1)    Review your business needs 

You should decide what business needs your new hire will solve.You also need to understand which qualifications, experience and skills are important. 

You must know how to measure success when the selected person is in position. Review the traits of the top performers in the job and find out what soft skills are needed to become successful in the role. 

After you're done, customize your questions and assessments to ensure you find the right person to meet your business needs.

2) Organize the questions

Another interviewing tip for interviewers when preparing for an interview is to organize all of your questions. 

You must be in a position to know exactly what you’ll be looking for before arranging an interview. Asking the right interview questions will help you determine whether the candidate has what’s needed. 

After you’ve compiled your list of attributes for the open vacancy, ask questions to help you settle on whether the candidate has the core competences needed. Be careful when asking questions, so you don’t imply discrimination. Questions relating to religion, marital status, gender, family planning etc should be avoided.

3) Create a rating system

A rating system is important since it helps to determine the exact criteria needed to assess the candidates' answers in an impartial way. This helps you to make the right decision about who will be suitable for the role.

4) Design an interview timeline 

Provide a summary of how the interview will take place. 

Decide how to start the interview, how the interview will continue and how it will end. For example, will you be informal or will your candidates receive a formal introduction? 

Every part of the interview should be planned in minute detail, so all candidates will have the same experience.

5) Dedicate time to research candidates

Take an in-depth look at resumes before the interview starts. 

Knowing a candidate's resume inside and out will help you ask better questions and have a deeper conversation. 

Look at the jobs the candidates have had and find out if they match the job criteria. You can also search social media for a candidate's profile. This is a two-way street since most candidates check out their potential employer on job sites, like Glassdoor. 

When checking social media, have a look at things like what your candidate does in their spare time and their interests.

6) Get your pitch ready

Another tip for interviewers is to remember that they also need to encourage the candidate to accept the job offer. 

Candidates will be deciding whether they want to work with your company. Therefore, you need to have persuasive selling points to get your candidate of choice to opt for your company. 

This pitch can include information about perks, benefits and how the workplace culture encourages flexible working.

7) Schedule the interviews

It's important to give your candidates enough notice when scheduling interviews. 

The best way is to use modern hiring software that uses automation to schedule interviews. Fountain’s interview scheduling toolkit sends out details of the interviews and automatically updates yours and the hiring manager's calendars. 

This ensures that you spend less time going back and forth arranging interviews. Using Fountain also gives your business a professional look by showing candidates that you use the best recruiting tools.

8) Reduce the candidate's anxiety

Interviews can be very stressful. 

Therefore, try to do all you can to reduce anxiety by explaining the interview process. Let candidates know what they should expect from the interview, including: 

·       Where the interview will be

·       What time the interview will take place

·       Who will be involved in the interview

The aim is to ensure that the candidate is fully prepared and there are no uncertainties or surprises on the big day. 

You can also include the dress code and the topics you will discuss. Your aim should be to make the candidates as comfortable as possible to get the best out of them.

9) Organize your facilities

Another tip for preparing for interviews is to organize the venue in advance and ensure you won’t be disturbed during the interview. 

Reserve the best available room to conduct the interview. It should be a quiet room. As the interviewer, you need to inform your colleagues that you’re unavailable at specific time to take calls, have meetings or talk to anyone.

10) Arrange snacks and drinks 

An additional touch is to make light snacks available – for example, tea, coffee and cookies. 

At the very least, provide a glass of water for your candidates.This will show that you’re considerate. It will also give candidates the comfort of having something to drink if they get thirsty during the interview.

During the interview

After you've done your preparation, it should be easier to conduct the interview, but conducting good interviews can still be complicated. 

You have to do more than just ask questions and listen to responses.  You must be tactful enough to steer the candidate on the right track if they start to go off track. 

11) Provide a warm welcome

A firm handshake, a welcoming smile and eye contact all help to give your candidate a warm welcome. 

This will set a positive tone for the interview and help your candidate feel more relaxed.

12) Go over the interview structure

Although you’ll have given your candidate details about the outline of the interview ahead of time, it pays to go over the outline again. 

This helps candidates feel like they understand what's coming and be more prepared. Also, give them the estimated duration of the interview.

13) Make introductions

Introduce yourself and anyone else on the interview panel. Then talk about your company and the position you’re interviewing for. 

Although the candidate should have done research on your company,ensure you don't skip over this part and clarify any information gaps your candidate might have. This part of the interview helps to highlight any positive information about your company.

14) Stick to structured interviews 

Structured interviews are where you ask a pre-arranged set of questions. 

Print out your questions and bring them with you to the interview.Stick to the questions on the list. 

All candidates should be asked the same questions in the same order. This will provide an objective basis for making decisions.

15) The interview should be a conversation 

You will get more from the candidate by approaching the interview as a conversation instead of an interrogation. 

Adopting this mindset will encourage candidates to relax.Reviewing the candidate’s resume ahead of time facilitates a conversational tone. 

When you ask a question, listen carefully to everything the candidate is saying. Don't be tempted to fill in the silence. Let the candidate think through their answers and give more details, if necessary.

16) Ask questions about real-life situations

Questions like “what are your weaknesses?” have their place in interviews, but they are broad and most people have figured out how to answer them. 

A more constructive use of interviewing time is to ask candidate show they would deal with real-life solutions related to the job. For example, if you own a restaurant and are hiring a chef, ask how they would go about prepping and cooking a meal. 

You can also give real-life scenarios about problems you have encountered with your team and ask candidates to describe the processes they would use to solve these issues. 

17) Ask follow-up questions

When you listen to the initial answer, you may need to ask the candidate to elaborate. 

These follow-up questions will give you greater insight into how the candidate thinks and also give them an additional opportunity to explain their thought process.

18) Make notes

Candidate interviews can be very time consuming, therefore, always take notes. 

It may not be that easy to remember all the answers, especially if you have several interviews on the same day. Using a laptop will cause distraction, so it’s recommended that you use pen and paper.

19) Be open-minded and watch for potential biases

It's important to find out what your biases are to prevent you from getting carried away with your first impression and then looking into everything the candidate says to support it. 

Give everyone a blank slate. Don't jump to conclusions and take the candidates' answers as you find them.

20) Explain the next steps

When the interview has come to an end, let the candidate know what comes next. 

Give details about the remainder of the hiring process and the proposed timeline. The candidate should leave the interview knowing what to expect.

21) Sell the role and your company

If you’re impressed with the candidate, ensure that he or she will choose you over anyone else. 

At the end of the interview, tell the candidate why you think they're a good fit. Also, ask if there is anyone else on the team they would be interested in meeting.

22) Finish the interview in a professional way

As the interviewer, you always have to ensure that you end in the proper way. 

This means allowing the candidate enough time to ask questions,answering the candidate's questions fully and honestly and describing the next steps. 

If you’re very interested, give the candidate a tour of your office, so they can observe the company culture.

After the Interview

After you’ve met the candidates, the interviewing process isn’t over. 

As an interviewer, ensure you continue the good work you've started. This is when you'll be making the decision about who to hire.

23) Check with others in your company

The candidates you interview will be at their best during the interview. 

They will be enthusiastic and engaged, so, hopefully, you have away of finding out how they behave when you’re not around. 

Ask the receptionist about how the candidates appeared while in the lobby. Were they smiley and friendly? (Because someone who is nice to receptionists or other staff is probably going to be a good team member, but the opposite can also be true.)

24) Assess your notes 

All the information and scorecards collected during the interview should be arranged according to the rating system you’ve developed beforehand. 

25) Select the best candidate 

If you’ve prepared scorecards, this should be easy. 

Your scorecards should rate each candidate by the criteria you’ve set. Choose the best three with the highest scores. Then compare them against each other with your team to make the final decision.

26) Send the job offer

Pick up the phone to tell the selected candidate that they have got the job. 

After they accept, quickly send them a formal job letter or email.Include details about the compensation, benefits, working hours, etc. and outline the next steps.

27) Let rejected candidates know they have been unsuccessful 

When the candidate you have chosen accepts the offer, it’s vital to contact all the others and let them know promptly. 

To make it easier, we have provided some job rejection letter templates you can just plug and play and send to applicants that haven't been successful.

To ensure the interview process goes smoothly, use the right recruitment software, like Fountain. Sign up for a 14-day free trial to see how we can help you improve your full hiring process.

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