What is a job interview?
A job interview is a formal meeting between a job applicant and an employer to evaluate the applicant's suitability for a job role advertised by the employer. Interviews are commonly used for employee selection.
Conducting a job interview is a crucial part of the recruitment process as it allows employers to gather information about the candidate's skills and prior experience, providing insights into their potential performance in the role.
So, how can you conduct a seamless and professional interview process?
Here are some top tips for interviewers to help you conduct the perfect interview:
Familiarize yourself with the job description
Before the interview begins, it's important to thoroughly understand the content of the job description and the associated roles and responsibilities.
By reviewing the job description, you can formulate relevant questions and gain a clear understanding of the qualities you are seeking in a candidate.
Define your expectations
While a well-written job description is a good starting point, it may not be sufficient for conducting a comprehensive interview. It is crucial for interviewers to have a thorough understanding of the desired qualities in a candidate.
Consider the ideal behavior and characteristics of an employee in the role. As an interviewer, you should ask questions that assess the candidate's alignment with your expectations and determine if they are a good fit for your organization's culture.
Creating a checklist of these expectations will facilitate the comparison of interviewees and simplify the decision-making process.
Prepare relevant questions
Preparing a list of questions is essential for a successful job interview. The balance of question types is equally important.
Include competency-based questions to assess the candidate's approach to the role. Use character-based questions to evaluate how well the candidate would fit within your team. Inquire about their career goals to gain insights into their motivations. Remember to ask open-ended questions that encourage the candidate to provide detailed responses rather than simple yes or no answers.
By following these tips, you can conduct an effective job interview that helps you identify the most suitable candidate for the role.
”Preparation is key: from greetings to the final question, make sure you have all bases covered.” Be Prepared Beyond the Job Interview
Do not underestimate the significance of small details during the job interview. It is important for the interviewee to feel comfortable enough to express their true personality.
For instance, check the interview room. Is it private and comfortable? Do you have water available on the table? If the interview is being conducted remotely, ensure that your sound and camera are working properly and that your Wi-Fi connection is strong. Introducing candidates to your team members on the interview panel before the interview begins is a great way to observe how they interact with people, while also giving the interviewee an opportunity to learn more about your company.
Practice Makes Perfect
Going over your questions and expectations with a colleague before the interview will boost your confidence.
It is worth considering having a second team member join you in the interview to take notes. This will give you more time to focus on the interviewee and respond to their answers.
Colleagues can provide valuable tips on how to conduct a job interview. They may also be interested in receiving your interview advice!
Foster a Conversation
A job interview can be an insightful and enjoyable experience for both the interviewer and the interviewee.
Help the interviewee make the most of the session by putting them at ease from the beginning. Asking conversational questions will allow you to get to know the candidate better and encourage them to speak freely before moving on to more challenging interview questions.
“Follow the 80-20 rule of interviewing: let the interviewee talk 80% of the time.” Listen more
As the interviewer, your focus should be on your questions and guiding the job interview.
Keep in mind that your goal is to learn about the candidate. A commonly recommended rule is to speak only 20% of the time and listen for 80% of the interview. While silence may feel uncomfortable, allow the interviewee time to think and answer your questions. Resist the temptation to break the silence yourself.
Encourage the candidate to ask their own questions during the interview and at the end.
Expect questions from interviewees
In addition to encouraging questions from the interviewee, anticipate that they will come prepared with inquiries about various aspects, such as company culture, development opportunities, and career progression.
Take this opportunity to provide additional information about the company that the interviewee may not have discovered during their research. This can include details about the working environment and how the business has been affected by the pandemic. It's important to give interviewees insight into the company's purpose and how the team operates effectively.
Be aware of 'unconscious bias'
As the saying goes, don't judge a book by its cover. Your first impression of someone is formed in just seven seconds, driven by your unconscious brain.
During a job interview, it's crucial to be mindful of this bias. Remind yourself not to make hasty decisions. Stick to your planned questions and use a standardized checklist to ensure every interviewee has a fair chance.
Do not make promises you cannot fulfill
It is natural to want to present a positive image of the job and company, but be cautious not to misrepresent the role.
The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development refers to this conversation as a "psychological contract." If the actual job differs from the expectations set during the interview, the psychological contract is broken, which may result in the new hire leaving.
Conclude the interview appropriately
Inform the candidate when they can expect a response and how it will be delivered. Provide or confirm the contact information they should look out for, and ensure that the contact information you have for them is accurate.
Before ending the interview, express gratitude for the candidate's time. This leaves a positive impression of the company and acknowledges that the candidate is also evaluating you. It is important to present the company in a favourable light.
What happens after the interview?
Conducting a job interview does not end when the interviewee leaves the room. Following up with the candidate after the interview is a crucial, yet often overlooked, step in the process.
Put yourself in the candidate's position and consider their experience during the next steps. Inform them of when they can expect a decision and communicate any delays in the process. Failing to follow up can harm your reputation and lose potential prospects.
Avoid making a final decision hastily during the interview itself. Take the time to evaluate the candidates' performance before informing every one of the outcomes. Additionally, be open to providing constructive feedback if requested by the interviewee.
In this competitive market, it is essential that your interview process, whether conducted in person or online, is effective, keeps candidates engaged, and ultimately helps you secure top professionals.