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Top Tips on Conducting a Successful Interview

Interviews are your chance as an employer to get to know your prospective employee and to determine whether they are fit for the job or not. It is a waste of time, money and energy, employing someone who you thought would be a great candidate for the job, but who turns out to be completely unsuitable.

Use the interview stage to really test your candidate and to obtain all the necessary information from them to ensure they are the best applicant and capable of carrying out the duties of the job.   

Here are some useful tips on how to conduct a successful interview…

#1 Outline your main objectives

Without knowing the type of information you want to gather from the candidate, you will find it difficult to structure your interview questions or to gauge an understanding of the type of candidate they are. You need to bullet point the main goals of the interview and what you want to achieve.

#2 Set the scene

The location of the interview will set the tone and so it is important that you pick the location carefully. Having an interview over a drink or dinner is far more informal than conducting an interview in a boardroom for example. If you are recruiting for an important post, then keep the interview location formal and professional.

#3 Read the resume

You will need to ask the candidate questions that relate to their resume, so as you review it, simply write down points that you want them to clarify or explain further, and take a note of any employment gaps to query. If you have not read the candidate’s resume, they will think you are unprepared and will quickly lose respect for you as an interviewer.

#4 Draw up your list of essential questions

Although it is best to go with the flow of an interview and to ask questions that relate to the responses the candidate has previously given, it is also important that you have a structure in place and specific questions jotted down. You may get lost in the conversation of the interview and forget to ask important questions, so be sure to lay out your questions clearly on a notepad.

#5 Have your open and closed questions at the ready

Closed questions may be necessary for direct responses to important questions; however, you must also have several open-ended questions to allow candidates the opportunity to express themselves and to structure answers how they see fit. The candidate’s response to open-ended questions will help you to identify how well they can construct their responses, whether they can think on their feet or not, and how confident they are in their approach.

#6 Manners should always be observed

Interview etiquette is paramount. Not only are you being judged by the candidate as an interviewer and potential manager, but you are representing the company you work for and so it is vital that you maintain proper interview etiquette at all times. Even if the candidate is rude, late or simply not suitable for the job; be professional. Open with small talk to give off a positive and welcoming attitude, and to show that you are happy to meet the candidate. Small talk tells a candidate that you are not in a rush to get the interview over with and will help them to feel at ease before the formal interview begins.

#7 Take notes

One of the worst things you can do is to conduct an interview and then forget most of the information the candidate relayed to you a few days later. Be sure to take notes (even if this is in the form of a Dictaphone) so that you avoid having to contact the individual later for answers to questions they already answered. The more candidates you interview, the harder it will be to remember their interview responses without taking notes.

#8 Don’t get distracted

Never answer your phone unless it is an emergency when conducting an interview. It is distracting for the candidate if you take a call and it will disrupt the flow of the interview. It is also very rude to text on your phone or to leave the room during an interview. Remember that you are also being interviewed by the candidate as to whether they want to work for you or not!

#9 Be considerate with contradictions

Sometimes a candidate will answer a question and then contradict themselves later on in an interview, of their resume will say one thing, and they may answer slightly differently when you approach the subject; this could be down to a harmless mistake, stress and anxiety of being interviewed. It is important that you do not accuse the candidate of lying or fabricating the truth, and simply ask them to better clarify their point.

#10 Be careful when asking about sensitive topics

Depending on the job type, industry, or candidate, you may need to explore sensitive issues and so it is vital that you are tactful, considerate and respect the candidate’s privacy at all times. Make sure you know the type of questions you can and cannot ask, as the last thing you want is a lawsuit filed against you for discrimination.



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