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Interview Best Practices:
We have talked a lot about best practices when it comes to the complete hiring process from beginning to end. Some of these things include shortlisting, hiring vs recruiting and many more. During a normal hiring process, a candidate goes through many steps such as an application, pre-employment assessment, phone screen and an interview. No matter what assessments or tools an organization uses during the hiring phase there is always at least one interview, and many times more than one. Each step is an integral part of the hiring process, allowing an organization get the most well-rounded view of the candidates up for the job. Throughout the rest of this post, we will be giving you the tools for one step of this process, the interview.
As mentioned, an interview by the hiring manager is present in almost 100% of the hiring processes out there. Combine this with the fact that typically hiring managers are not often trained on interviewing, and they do not have a lot of time to practice. Often, a manager may only conduct 2-3 interviews per year. I do not know of any manager that was rated poorly on their performance appraisal because they were not a good interviewer. Therefore, as much support should be given to the interview process as possible.
There are various steps that the hiring manager should go through when planning, setting up, and conducting the interview with their top candidates. The interview is a key step for hiring managers because it is the first time, they can really get an idea of the candidate and figure out if they would be a good fit with the company and the team based on the skills and abilities measured during the interview (I.e., communication, team work, etc.) Interviewing is a skill and as other skills it takes work and practice to fine tune your interviewing skills. If you are an employer or a hiring manager, look at the interview best practices listed below to be most prepared for your interviewees in 2021.
Interview Best Practices – Key Steps:
1. Do your homework.
- Review the resumes or CVs of the candidates that you will be holding interviews with. This will give you time to be able to know these candidates at a superficial level and will help you ask the right questions during the interview.
- Review the open job you are trying to fill. Doing this will make sure that you are ready for any questions that the candidates may have for you about the job as well as help you establish which qualifications are most important for the candidates to have.
2. Chose the mode and type of administration
- Choose how you are going to conduct the interview. The most common ones are in–person interviews, phone interviews, and the increasingly popular type of interview due to COVID-19 video interviews.
- Next choose the configuration of the interview. Will the interview be a one-on-one interview, a group interview, or a panel interview? One-on-one interviews are one interviewer and one interviewee. Group interviews are most commonly one interviewer interviewing many candidates at one time. A panel interview is an interview that is held by multiple interviewers that form a panel who then interview one individual candidate. Obviously, the group interview is the most time and cost-effective however you gather less information about each candidate. The panel interview provides the most information but also takes the greatest number of resources.
- Lastly set up a date, time, and place to hold the interview. If it is virtual either send the candidate a link to a video call or let them know to expect a call from you on a certain day at a certain time. Try to offer interview times outside the normal working day. If your goal is to find candidates who are currently employed then make times available that are convenient for them.
3. Use quality interview questions.
- Content does matter. What questions and how you ask them and how you evaluate the responses can make the difference between a good decision and a bad decision.
- Ask questions about your company— asking job specific questions and questions about the company will allow you to see how much research the candidate did on your company before the interview which shows that they are both excited and motivated about your job opportunity.
- Ask about the candidates’ qualifications for the job. Use the job qualifications found on their resume as well as asking situational questions to see if an individual is a good fit for a specific role. For example, if the candidate is applying for a digital marketing job tailor your questions to social media and Search Engine Optimization (SEO).
- Ask questions about their character. Questions like this get the candidate to really think about themselves. Ask about their weaknesses or how they would handle a tough situation on the job.
4. Sample Interview Questions
In this section we will highlight some common open ended interview questions that are important to include in the interview process yet are not focused on specific job-related competencies. These are just some examples and do not include all the questions that the hiring manager should ask during the interview.
- Tell me about your past work experience.
- What are your personal goals for your next position?
- Why do you want to work for OUR company?
- Why did you leave your last job?
- What do you believe is your biggest strength and weakness?
5. Conduct the Interview
- Ask your questions. During the interview you will also be evaluating certain competencies that are unrelated to the question being asked. For example, you can judge the candidate’s oral communication skills regardless of the question. Do they use good grammar, word choice, inflection, etc.
- You should also spend time informing the candidate about your company and the job as well. Be sure to leave time to allow the candidate to ask you questions.
6. Take notes.
- Be sure that you are taking notes throughout the interview. As a hiring manager or employer, you may be interviewing many candidates and/or interviewing for many different positions. Taking notes of the answers of your candidates will help you have a better idea of who is the “best fit” once all the interviews have been held.
- Taking notes also sends a positive message to the candidates. It shows you care about what they are saying.
7. Close the interview process.
- The last step to the interview involves closing it out. This is an opportunity to tell the candidate a little more about the company that was not covered, ask them if they have any other questions about the company or job, and ask some of the questions regarding availability and salary. Also make sure you tell the candidate when you will be in touch with them regarding the job.
As we said the interview will be part of every hiring process and it is important that hiring managers have interview best practices when interviewing their candidates. Historically companies have not paid as much attention to the quality of the interview as they should. Ensuring that managers’ have excellent interviewing skills will not only ease the hiring process but it also helps you find the right candidates the first time. In addition, being prepared and holding the best interview possible will give you an advantage over the other companies that your candidates may be interviewing with. Using these best practices will only help your company grow, develop, and have an efficient and successful hiring process.
Related Resource: Best Hiring Practices– Top Questions Answered
Related Blog Post: What to Look for in a Resume– When Shortlisting Candidates