How to conduct an interview

When you conduct an employee interview, it’s your job to find the most suitable person for the job. That means you will need to conduct the most suitable job interview. If you fail in conducting the interview, you will fail in finding the best person for the role you are interviewing for.

Here’s an effective ten step process that will help you get the interview right.

1 – What do you need?

Most managers will look at a person’s experience and qualifications, but what is most important about an employee is their ability to solve a need. Work out what you will actually need from your new employee, and work out how you’ll evaluate a candidate’s ability to provide that need.

2 – Let your candidates know what to expect

Candidates should not be subjected to surprises when they are interviewed. They should know how the interview will be conducted, and what they will need to tell you. Remember, you might identify the perfect person for the job, but if you don’t impress them at interview, they might decide the job’s not for them.

3 – Know the candidate before the interview

Never just flick through someone’s resume – study it in detail. You should know as much about each candidate as possible before you get to meet them in person.

4 – Conduct a conversation, not an interview

You may fancy yourself as a police interrogator, but leave your crime-busting fantasies at home. The best interviews are conversations rather than interviews – you certainly get to learn more about each candidate if you engage with them and listen to them.

5 – Keep asking the questions

Don’t just run down a list of prepared questions. It’s very rare that a candidate will answer any question completely – there will always be the chance to ask follow on questions. Make sure you think and ask them, although asking questions for the sake of asking them is just as bad as not asking them at all.

6 – Be open to fielding questions

Hopefully, if you’ve followed step four adequately, this will flow naturally. If a candidate is generally interested in working for you, they will ask questions about your company. Answer any questions with thoughtfulness and openness.

7 – Tell your candidates what happens next

Conclude the interview by describing the next stages of the process. Never leave your candidates in the dark, even if the interview has gone badly. It’s simple courtesy.

8 – Follow up!

Tell all your candidates if they failed the interview (or not!). Again, this is simple courtesy – and if you leave candidates dangling, you’ll gain a poor reputation that may deter future applicants.

9 – Contact the referees

Make sure you speak to the referees provided by the candidate … and anyone you think may have encountered the candidate professionally. You might uncover some surprising revelations … both good and bad.

10 – Take two …

It never hurts to interview the candidate again, even if you’re sure. You’re going to be giving them a chuck of your company’s money, after all. It pays to be absolutely, fundamentally, one hundred percent certain.

For sound advice on how to recruit, develop and retain the best people in the market, please contact us on 020 3633 3756

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