A productive interview is more than just meeting the candidate and putting a face to a CV. You will need a game plan to get the most of your time, and get the most from the your candidates. Here are some tips from preparing the interview structure right through to making your decision.
Preparing your interview:
- Re-read your job description that is advertised and make a list of all the skills that would be required/ desirable in a candidate, especially the soft skills (see our blog on assessing candidates for details on soft skills).
- Develop questions for your candidate based off the skills you have listed. i.e. asking for examples of great team work if that is an essential part of the role, or experience in customer service.
- Over-communicate with the candidate about the interview details beforehand. Not only re-iterating the time and date but prepare them for anything else such as parking, traffic updates, what to bring etc. This would re-assure the candidate that you are keen to see them and would give them the opportunity to ask any questions they may have before hand.
Asking the Right Questions:
- Before asking questions, give the candidate a sense of the company culture and environment and what they can expect there. This will give candidate an idea of how they might contribute to this environment and if they are likely to fit in, and you can also gauge their reaction.
- Decide what factors or results could result in them no longer being considered for the role and what areas may need additional training or support. Be sure to communicate this to the candidate if you feel additional training will benefit them and could result in them being hired in the near future. This solidifies the relationship you already have with them, making them more likely to apply again.
- What do you know about our company? If they haven’t done their research, it will give you an indication as to how detailed to be when introducing or describing the company.
- Describe your career progression. This will help you understand the candidate’s motivation behind the job changes and their goals, especially if they have had multiple jobs over a short period of time.
- Why do you want this job? Candidate should be able to describe what they can offer to your company specifically, rather than describe why they want any job in general.
- Describe your past team dynamics and if they had a positive/ negative aspect. You can find out what the candidate’s ideal environment is and if it matches the company. pay close attention if they speak negatively and how they address these circumstances.
- Give an example of an unsuccessful project/ challenging situation and what you learnt/ how you overcame it. Asking this draws out any candidates who cannot think of any examples or who are quick to blame others. This should give candidates a chance to show how they are resilient and eager to learn.
- Follow with ‘How did you do that?’ or ‘What was the result?’ to better understand and have them further elaborate. They should be able to provide more detail.
While asking questions can help extract the information you need about a candidate, certain roles might also benefit from performance or role play to better understand how a candidate approaches and handles a particular situation.
Performance or Application tasks:
- One option could be writing in response to a scenario presented such as an email or sales letter, giving you an idea of their writing and communication skills.
- Role play in a given scenario requiring a response or a description of the approach they would take. For example, if your role is customer facing you could pretend to be a customer and have the candidate interact with you.
- Technical assessments such as software demos or a maths test, this can depend on your company and role requirements.
- Group interviews and team projects. Coming up with presentations, role play, or working together to complete a task. This allows you to observe their team work and communication skills first hand.
- Review and add notes during the conversation or immediately after the interview to prevent losing important details.
- Outline the strengths and weaknesses and what support might be needed to fulfil the requirements
- Collect reviews and input from others involved in the interview process to make a collective decision