Interviewing candidates for a role is not a simple task. While many articles focus on the role of the candidate in the interview situation, very few look at what it means to be a good interviewer. Getting information from a candidate is certainly not an easy task, but there are certain things you can do to make your life easier.
In this guide, we will explore what interviewers should avoid in order to get the information they need from their candidates. Follow our advice to help improve your interview technique and get the very best out of your candidates.
Going in without a plan
As with anything in life, preparation is key when conducting an interview. You should know exactly what role you are interviewing for, what the requirements are and what sort of person would be best suited to the job. Once you have this information, you can begin to formulate your questions.
Questions should be based on the requirements of the role and should be the same for each candidate. It would be difficult to make direct comparisons if you ask each candidate different questions. You should leave some flexibility to ask more about specific parts of their experience and history, but the core questions should always be the same.
Making it all about you
An interview is not a conversation between friends, it is a professional meeting in which you are trying to assess whether the candidate has the required skills and experience for the role. This means that the focus should be on the candidate and not on you.
Many interviewers make the mistake of talking about themselves or their company for too long. Not only will this put prospective candidates off, but it also cuts down on the time you have to assess the candidate. Your role in the interview should be to put the candidate at ease so they can give you the information you need to make an informed decision. The candidate should typically leave the interview feeling like they said more than you.
Assuming you'll remember everything
It is important to remember that an interview is a two-way street. As well as assessing the candidate, they will also be assessing you and your company. This means that it is important to make a good impression.
One way to do this is by taking notes during the interview. This shows that you are interested in what the candidate has to say. It can also take the pressure off the candidate as you won't always be looking at them. Interviewers often think that they will be able to remember everything that was said, but this is rarely the case. Give yourself the best chance of being able to recall facts by making notes alongside their CV.
Only noting what was said aloud
In order to make a truly informed decision, it is important that you also take note of the candidate's body language and demeanour. This can tell you a lot about how they are feeling and how they interact with others.
You should try to create an environment in which the candidate feels relaxed so that their true personality comes through. But you might notice certain habits or behaviours that leave you with a specific impression. For example, if the candidate is slumped in their chair, this could indicate a level of arrogance and disinterest in the role.
Only looking at the past and present
A key part of any interview is to find out about the candidate's future plans. This will help you to assess whether they are likely to stay with the company for a long time or if they are just looking for a stop-gap.
Many interviewers focus on the past and present, but the future is just as important. Asking candidates to picture where they might be in the future and how they would like to shape their career is just as revealing as asking them what they have done in the past.
Asking leading questions
Leading questions are those which prompt the candidate to give a specific answer. For example, "you must be very organised", or "I can see that you're very ambitious". These types of questions can lead the candidate to say what you want to hear, rather than what is actually true.
It is important to set up the questions in a way that leaves it completely open to interpretation. For example, you could ask "tell me about your organisational style", or "can you tell me about a time you showed ambition in a role?"
Following these helpful tips will allow you to become a better interviewer and get more out of the candidates that you meet. And at times there may be a case you need to end the interview early.