Mastering the art of the interview isn’t easy, yet it is an integral part—if not the most crucial part—of the hiring process. After reviewing numerous resumes and cover letters, narrowing down the options, the interview is an opportunity for each candidate to “jump off the page,” to dazzle you with a winning personality and expand on skills beyond the written application. It’s also a moment for you to delve further into the job description and responsibilities, giving the candidate a clearer view of your expectations.
In all likelihood you have either been interviewed by a prospective employer, interviewed a prospective candidate, or maybe both. Then you know how stressful the process is. But it doesn’t have to be. Having a good set of interview practices in place can help your interviews run more smoothly so you can effectively get the information you need and make a confident choice.
Some great practices to keep in mind for every interview include:
- Fostering a relaxed atmosphere. Both you and the candidate will benefit from a more laid back tone, while still keeping things professional, of course.
- Help the candidate feel more at ease. At the beginning of the interview, introduce yourself and your role in the company. Also, let the candidate know what to expect during the interview, including whether another person will also be speaking to them.
- Have some standard questions ready. These will help you keep track of they key points during the interview and come back to them if you or the candidate get off topic during conversations. Standard questions also help you set a more objective evaluation scale among the candidates.
- Timing is important. Try to be ready early or at least on time for the interview. Allocate enough time to go through everything you need to cover. Rushing through questions and constantly looking at a clock will raise the candidate’s—and your—stress levels.
- Be friendly and open. This will make the candidates feel more at ease and comfortable to talk about themselves.
Another great interview practice is conducting pre-employment testing. Test results not only help you narrow down the prospective candidates, but also learn more about each one before the interview stage. During the interview, you can find out more about the candidate’s skills by going over the test results.
Pre-employment testing can help you:
- Determine the technical skill level of each of candidate. This way you’ll know and can ask for further details during the interview.
- Get a sense of the candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. Looking carefully at the candidates’ answers before the interview will also help you determine their skill level.
- Establish a benchmark. You can help ensure that the candidate’s technical level is sufficient and relevant to a specific position by testing current high-performing employees first and establishing a benchmark.
- Take better notes during the interview. Good notes will help you or the person making the hiring decision by giving a detailed view of the candidate. Going over pre-employment results during the interview can give you a chance to delve further and ask questions that will yield better notes.
Following good interview practices consistently during the hiring process can help you get the right candidate for every job. As with anything else, practice will help you perfect the art of the interview. If you’re nervous about interviewing, see if you can sit in a few interviews with other hiring managers until you get your feet wet.