Interviewing candidates is an incredibly important task. You want to find the person whose experience, skills and personality fit your company best. If you don’t prepare for the interview or pay attention to the job candidate, then you could end up missing out on the perfect employee. If this is your first time interviewing job candidates, then don’t stress out about it too much. As long as you prepare yourself, you will be fine. Here are a number of tips you should keep in mind in order to help you conduct a successful job interview:
- Create a rapport with the candidate – There are a number of reasons why you should establish a rapport with each person you interview. A smile, a handshake and a bit of casual conversation will help relax the job candidate and make them much more comfortable. This can only help the interview process because you want the candidate to open up and answer your questions. If you don’t take some time to make them feel comfortable speaking with you, the candidate may be too nervous and keep their answers guarded and short.
- Review the candidate’s resume beforehand – Preparing for the interview is important if you want it to be successful. Highlight areas on the resume which you’d like to probe further. Craft some questions to dig deeper into their experience and knowledge while validating the critical information on their resume.
- Write out a list of questions beforehand – Don’t just wing it during the interview. If you do, you’ll end up asking poor questions that won't’ get you the kind of information you want to make a balanced and fair decision. Review your position’s critical hiring requirements and then create a list of questions that will help you evaluate the candidate’s experience, skills and behaviors necessary to be successful in the role. Keep this list with you during the interview so that you won’t forget to ask any of them.
- Take notes – You may think that you’ll remember everything the candidate has told you – especially if their answers are impressive. However, the more candidates you interview, the harder it is going to be to keep track of who said what. Take simple notes after the candidate answers each question (you don’t want to be scribbling away while they are speaking). Sometimes it’s helpful to start a column on the far right of your page where you can write notes, questions or phrases to remind you of additional questions and areas to probe either in this interview or in a different part of the interview process (such as checking a reference).
- Listen carefully to the candidate’s answers – A common mistake made by those who are interviewing candidates for the first time is to lose focus on what the candidate is saying. Avoid thinking about what the next question is going to be while the candidate is answering you, and try not to judge what they are saying until after the interview ends.
- Ask open-ended questions – Make sure your questions aren’t “yes” or “no” questions. Otherwise, you’ll have nothing to distinguish one candidate from another. Make sure your questions are open-ended so that you can create an actual dialogue.
- Don’t be afraid to deviate from the script – If you are asking open-ended questions, then you’ll probably want to ask a few follow up questions every once in a while that you hadn’t written down beforehand. There’s nothing wrong with asking a few questions that you come up with on the fly. It usually means that the interview is going well and that the candidate has peaked your interest.
- Be professional and patient – Don’t intimidate the candidate. It doesn’t do anyone any good. If there’s a long silence after you ask a question, ask the candidate if you need to clarify the question. Be patient – some people are nervous in interviews, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be excellent employees. You should also make sure to appear professional to them. Dress professionally and conduct the interview in a clean space. Remember, the candidate is evaluating you and the company just as much as you are evaluating them. Make a great impression so they’ll want to accept a potential job offer from you.
Be sure to use these tips when conducting a job interview. Do so and the job interview should go smoothly.
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