Let’s face it, interviewing candidates isn’t your full-time job so when you have to do it, it’s not only time consuming but can feel like a chore. On top of that, you’re probably hiring someone because you’re already spread thin. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting the most out of each interview. Here are a few tips to make that happen.
Nail the pre-interview prep — Providing all relevant information well in advance is a must. This includes who the candidate will be interviewing with, check in/parking instructions for in-person meetings, and links to virtual invites. This type of preparation helps to alleviate the candidate’s stress allowing them to focus on what’s important – prepping for the interview – and sets your company apart as not only being on top of things but attentive to their need to be prepared.
Preparing yourself is a must as well, so have your questions ready beforehand. The more prepared and consistent you are with each candidate, the better you’ll be able to gauge a good fit. That doesn’t mean you should be robotic in your interviewing, just allow for a bit of a framework for decision making, especially with multiple interviewers and candidates.
Be on schedule — There’s nothing more frustrating than a candidate that’s late for an interview, right? Well, it works both ways. Being on time shows the interviewee that they are important to you, and that you respect their time as much as you are asking them to respect yours. Make an effort to be on time and ensure you have enough questions to take up the majority of the allotted interview slot.
Make the candidate comfortable — Remember, your demeaner as the interviewer sets the tone for the interview, so be conversational and use positive body language. If you are firing rapid fire questions at them, or appear to be overly intimidating, you won’t get an accurate demonstration of their skills. Interviewees that are more at ease can think clearly and address questions more effectively and accurately. Additionally, they are also interviewing you and using this as a chance to see your working style. Make sure your interview style is reflective of that.
Ask follow-up questions — Asking good follow-up questions ensures the candidate is doing most of the talking. While it’s okay to provide some details about the position being discussed, spending too much time talking won’t allow you to get a feel for their qualifications. How they answer follow-ups to more traditional interview questions gives you a clearer picture of the person than their initial (likely more practiced) responses. Follow-ups like “how so?”; “interesting, can you please tell me more?” or “how did you go about accomplishing that?”, will not only help you learn more about the candidate, but it will also show your interest in them for the position.
Avoid potential distractions — Don’t answer your phone, email, etc. during an interview. This is even more important now with virtual interviews becoming more commonplace. These distractions not only throw you off, but they could also mean you miss something important. In addition, it can throw the candidate off as well and sends the message that your mind is elsewhere. You expect your candidate to have his or her focus set on you during the interview process, and they deserve the same respect from you as well.
Wrap things up positively — Regardless of your interest in moving forward with a candidate, it’s always best practice to wrap up interviews positively. This means giving them an opportunity to ask questions, explaining next steps, and thanking them for their time. They may not be the right fit for your position or team, but leaving a positive impression goes a long way. The last thing you want is your company to have a reputation of being disrespectful.
I hope these tips help you in your next round of candidate interviews. One last piece of advice…keep in mind that the candidates are interviewing you and the company as much as you are interviewing the candidate. Be sure to sell your company’s culture to help the candidate decide if this is the right fit for them. With these simple tips, you’ll find you spend less time interviewing candidates overall with your consistent demeanor, questions and approach.