How To Conduct A Superb Interview

Job Interviews are nerve wracking. Not only for the interviewee but also for the interviewer. You also want the candidate to leave with a great impression of the company and want them to join your brand. So here’s how to give an amazing interview, if you’re the interviewer!

Step 1: Plan Accordingly.

We’re firm believers that good preparation makes good results. So planning and preparing your interview will be the best first step you can take.

Location and Time

Make sure you have a dedicated location and time you can go to the interview and concentrate solely on the task at hand. Most businesses have a meeting room or private office that can be used for this purpose. Just make sure you know where you are going and when you are going to be ready for the day.

Write down your list of questions beforehand.

Look over your job description and write down questions that are directly related to the job responsibilities and what you would want the candidate to do on a daily basis. This gives you a good idea of the kind of questions you should ask to really understand the skills of the candidate and their capabilities to do the job.

Another thing to consider is asking behavioural questions. These are questions that can reveal the behaviours and personality of the candidate and see whether they are a good fit and how well they can handle themselves under pressure. The best-known examples are “Tell me about yourself” and “Tell me about a time when…” These questions tease out specific examples of past successes, past failures and what they learnt from them.

Also remember there are questions you cannot ask by law, as well as questions that are severely frowned upon. Avoid those like the plague, and keep the question about their skills and experience only and you will be fine.

During an interview you need to provide an actual problem that you have faced and ask the candidate how they would resolve the issue, especially if there has been some problem pertaining to the job for which the candidate will be hired.

Structure it out

Now that you have developed your list of interview questions you will want to create a loose structure for the interview. It will give you a good indicator as to how long the interview will last and how many interviews you can fit in a day.

So note if you’re going to give a brief description of the company or if you are going to ask the candidate. Then outline the job duties, refreshing theirs and your memory.  Then ask the candidate your pre-prepared questions. After that, the candidate will have the opportunity to ask you questions. This sets up the parameters of the interview, keeps you both focused, and gives you an idea of what to expect and how to run a smooth interview process.

If you’re going to do a group interview, then let the candidate know so that they can appropriately prepare for the day.

Step 2: On The Day

Review the Candidates CV

This may sound obvious but make sure you give yourself time to print off and read through the candidate’s CV. Make notes if you must but make sure this information is fresh in your mind before you enter the interview room. This keeps their credentials fresh in your mind and you can have an idea of what question to prioritise asking.

Another important point to remember is that you’re hiring people, not paper. The point of an interview is to look beyond the CV and see who they are as a person and as an employee.

There is no such thing as the perfect candidate. So look for someone who would be a good fit given a bit of time and training, this requires you to understand them and get to know them as much as possible during the interview.

Professional Courtesies and Introductions

Obviously this is a professional environment and so you’re going to want to perform the normal introductions, keeping small talk small and offering the interviewee a glass of water/cup of tea etc.

Remember, interviews go both ways, you are assessing them for they role but they are assessing if they want to join your business. Making a great first impression always helps.

This also helps the candidate relax a little. You’re going to want them to relax to get the best answers from them. If they seem shy, try to put them at ease and encourage conversation.

Body Language

You’re going to want to come across as disarming to the candidate so be mindful of your body language. Yes, you want to come across as professional but you also want the candidate to open up to you.

We know that you may be just as nervous as they are, but by relaxing your body language you can focus on watching their body language.

While preparing questions and other information of an interview is important, do not rehearse so much that you appear robotic. Relax and encourage the conversation to flow naturally. Remember, most people can sense if someone is being fake. A candidate will articulate best if the interview is held in a more truthful atmosphere.

Listening is important but you should also learn to read non-verbal clues. Such signs can indicate the candidate’s level of interest and honesty.

Lay out the interview

It’s just good practice. It will help your applicant feel more comfortable too. Remember to leave time at the end of the interview for questions from the candidate.

Be conversational.

At the end of the day, an interview is a conversation. So keep it conversational. When they first arrive, make small talk and break the ice. Again you want the candidate to relax so they can give you honest well rounded answers and so that you can gauge whether they would be a good fit for your company.

Remember conversations may go slightly off track and that’s OK. Just gently return the conversation back to your questions.

Work on your listening skills.

When you’re not speaking, you should be listening. So listen carefully to what the candidate is saying and try to understand the point they are trying to get across. 

The difficult thing here is the balancing act between listening carefully and taking notes. People are not as good at multitasking as we have led to believe. So listen carefully and only make notes if absolutely necessary, or have someone else in the interview just to take notes.

Remember, this is a conversation, and most people don’t take active notes during a conversation. Listen and absorb the information.

Curiosity is powerful

There’s a writing technique called the “curiosity gap” where you make people intensely curious about an article so they click on the link. This is what you should do about your company. Give enough information about the company that it makes the candidate curious and eager to discover more.

Remember, an interview is a two way process that means not only are you assessing the candidate, but they are assessing if they want to work for you.

Step 3: Follow Up

Follow up with the candidate

Always, always, always follow up with the candidate or with the recruitment agency quickly. When you follow up you are going to want to provide an answer as to whether they got the job or not but you are also going to want to provide feedback about how they did and what they can do to improve.

The worst thing you can do is to go radio silent on a candidate and leave them in the lurch.

Another point to make is, be quick about making your decision. We live in a candidate driven environment and so good candidates will be snapped up quickly and they certainly won’t wait about for your response. So make your decision quickly and let all parties involved know the status of your decision.

There we have it. Remember, interviews are nervous experiences for candidates as well as yourself. So if you follow these steps you will be able to give great interviews that truly get to the bottom of who a candidate is and whether they are the one for your company.

Freddie Chirgwin-Bell

Marketing & Communications Executive at Morgan Jones Recruitment Consultants
Freddie joined Morgan Jones in 2019 and has quickly established himself as the marketing authority in the group. Bringing years of experience to the role he is in charge of all aspects of the brand's marketing.

I'm passionate about making marketing more human and less robotic and automated. Marketing is about making true connections and having great communication.

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