Hiring for your team can be a long and arduous process, and sitting through an interview after an interview can be exhausting. Here are six ways you can improve your interviewing skills and make sure you’re finding the right candidate for your role.
Build rapport with the candidate
This may seem like an obvious one, but it can make or break the interview. Start with some casual small talk, and perhaps establish common interests with the candidate, such as hobbies or activities outside of work. You can spend about three to five minutes here before launching into the interview.
Keep the interview conversational — the last thing you want is an interrogation-style Q&A. Remember that the main point of the interview is not just to find someone with the right skill sets, but also someone you can work with within the long run. So don’t be afraid to be authentic in the interview so the candidate feels comfortable to do the same.
Come with an agenda
Even conversational interviews need some structure, so make sure you’re going into the chat with an agenda in mind. Communicate at the start of the meeting what you’d like to cover and discuss so the candidate knows what to expect.
Use the agenda as a guide and allow the conversation to flow naturally. It’s your job as the interviewer to navigate the conversation and remember to allow time for the candidate to ask questions too.
Ask both open and closed-ended questions
You want to allow the candidate the opportunity to clarify and expand on their responses, so you can better understand them as a hire. It also allows you to see the candidate’s thought process, and how they construct and articulate themselves.
Always start with open-ended questions, and use closed-ended ones to help provide more specific information or clarity on their response. For example, you can start with the classic “Tell me more about…” and then follow up with, “And who was your key stakeholders in that project?”
Listen, listen… and listen some more
While asking good questions is important in an interview setting, listening to the candidate’s answers can be even more critical. You should be spending most of the interview listening and taking notes and asking follow-up questions based on the candidate’s previous answer.
This is also a great opportunity to listen out for interesting or irregular experiences, and learn more about the candidate as a person. Use the remaining 25% or so of your time-sharing more about the role, how the candidate will benefit from it, and answer any outstanding questions.
Understand their motivations and career aspirations
This is what I like to call the candidate’s “hot buttons”. Typically, we find candidates who have strong push factors are easier to hire as they may have reasons to leave their current roles.
If you’re speaking to a passive candidate, you may still be able to make an offer if you understand their hot buttons, and ensure that throughout the interview process, they are reminded of not just what they bring to the table, but what you do as an employer and job opportunity.
Question: How many interviews before you started feeling like its was too much? (LinkedIn Poll Final Result)
Lastly, maintain a positive candidate experience
You’d be surprised at the number of times I’ve seen a candidate reject an offer because they didn’t get along or like the hiring manager or interview process.
And even if you decide during or after the interview that this candidate is not the right fit, remember to maintain a positive candidate experience. Bad news travels faster, and you never know if this candidate may be a contact of a future hire, or may reconsider another role with the company in the future.
If you could offer advice to someone who wanted to be a better interviewer, what advice would you give? Comment your thoughts below.
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