26 September 2023
As an employer, manager, HR professional, or CEO, you’ll understand the crucial role that interviews play in the hiring process.
Not only do they allow you to evaluate the skills and qualifications of potential hires, but they also provide you with an opportunity to showcase your company as an employer of choice.
Did you know the typical employer will interview between six and 10 candidates for a job, with some of those going through two or three interviews each before an offer is made? That’s a significant amount of interviewing!
So, how can you make sure your interviews aren’t a waste of time and are effective in helping you identify the best candidates?
Here’s our guide to provide you with tips and techniques for mastering the interview process and making informed hiring decisions.
- Be prepared
One of the most crucial aspects of conducting successful interviews is preparation. Take the time to familiarise yourself with the candidate’s background, skills, and experience. Review their CV or application and make notes on key points that you want to explore further during the interview.
Prepare a list of questions that address their suitability for the position and the cultural fit with your company. Every interview is unique, so it’s crucial to tailor each one to the role and to allow the candidate to get the most out of it.
Remember, the interview is often a candidate’s first impression of your business, and disorganisation or an apparent lack of interest could put them off. By being well-prepared, you’ll demonstrate your professionalism and commitment to finding the right fit for the role.
2. Create a positive environment
Creating a positive environment that promotes good health and wellbeing can boost employee morale, engagement, and productivity. Whether it’s an in-person or remote interview, create a professional, comfortable, and clean environment that puts the candidate at ease. Consider factors such as lighting, air temperature, ergonomics, and an aesthetically pleasing workspace.
If it’s a remote interview, test your video and audio equipment in advance to avoid technical glitches. Creating a positive environment from the outset can help generate excitement and interest in working for your company.
3. Build rapport
Building rapport with candidates can help establish trust and provide additional insight into their personality and work style. Put them at ease and try to engage them on a personal level.
Firstly, start by introducing yourself and providing an overview of the position and the company. And when they tell you about themselves, show genuine interest in their background, experiences, and goals.
By creating a friendly and welcoming atmosphere, you’ll encourage candidates to open up and provide more insightful responses. Remember, the candidate is also evaluating you and your company, so it’s essential to leave a positive impression.
4. Standardise your approach
To ensure fairness and consistency throughout the interview process (and to ensure you’re not wasting time reinventing the wheel), it’s crucial to standardise your interview approach.
Develop a set of relevant and job-specific questions that you can tweak for different candidates. This allows for a fair comparison of responses and helps you evaluate candidates objectively. It also helps to establish clear criteria for what constitutes an acceptable and unacceptable answer for each question, enabling you to make better informed evaluations.
5. Ask open-ended questions
When crafting your interview questions, focus on asking open-ended questions that require more than a simple “yes” or “no” response.
Open-ended questions encourage candidates to provide detailed and thoughtful answers, allowing you to gain a deeper understanding of their skills, experiences, and problem-solving abilities. Examples of open-ended questions include “Tell me about a time when…” or “Describe how you handled…”
6. Use the STAR model for interview questions
The STAR model is a highly effective approach for designing interview questions that elicit detailed and meaningful responses from candidates. The model stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result. When asking questions, prompt the candidate to describe a specific situation they encountered, the task they had to accomplish, the actions they took, and the results they achieved.
This approach allows you to gain a comprehensive understanding of the candidate’s skills and problem-solving abilities.
7. Assess emotional intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a critical skill in today’s workplace. Assessing a candidate’s emotional intelligence can help you determine their ability to identify and manage emotions, work well with others, and handle stress and pressure.
Ask questions that gauge their self-awareness, empathy, and conflict resolution skills. Their responses will provide insights into how they handle challenging situations and their interpersonal effectiveness.
8. Ask follow-up questions
When a candidate provides an answer, don’t be afraid to ask follow-up questions to gain a deeper understanding of their response. Follow-up questions allow you to explore the candidate’s thought process, decision-making abilities, and problem-solving skills in more detail. This will help you make more informed evaluations and select the right candidate for the role.
9. Be mindful of legal and prohibited questions
During the interview process, it’s crucial to be aware of questions that are prohibited by law or may be considered discriminatory. Avoid asking questions related to a candidate’s race, ethnicity, religion, gender, marital status, or any other protected characteristic. Stick to job-related questions that assess a candidate’s qualifications and skills.
10. Take Detailed Notes
During the interview, take detailed notes on each candidate. Document key points, strengths, weaknesses, and any other relevant information that will help you evaluate candidates later.
Detailed notes provide a comprehensive record of each candidate’s interview and assist in making informed hiring decisions. Additionally, they serve as a valuable reference during the selection process and help ensure fairness and consistency.
11. Provide feedback
Before a candidate leaves the interview, make sure you’ve told them about next steps. Be clear on when they should hear from you/your recruiter and give them an idea of how long it will take you to make a decision.
Even when a candidate is unsuccessful, make sure you provide your recruiter with feedback. Most candidates are extremely appreciative of interviewers who take the time to give insight onto how they felt the interview went. They’re also often keen to learn how they can be successful in interviews in the future and your constructive feedback can be really useful.
Importantly, you want to continue to provide a great candidate experience, even beyond the interview stage.
In summary, mastering the interview process as an employer is crucial for attracting top talent and making informed hiring decisions. By working with ODIN and/or following our interview tips, you can create a positive candidate experience, evaluate candidates effectively, and select the right fit for your vacancy. Get in touch with us today!