Interviewing 101

Interviewing 101

Tips & Techniques For Conducting a Successful Interview

Does conducting an interview make you sweat as much as the job seeker? Maybe you haven’t prepared as well as you should. It’s important to have an organized plan in place for interviewing. This will enable you to gather all of the information you need from each candidate to make good hiring decisions.

Getting Prepared:

To appear relaxed, confident, and capable — and to represent your company well — you must be prepared. Here’s what you should do BEFORE the interview:

  • Conduct an initial telephone screening and fill out a screening worksheet with information about the applicant’s job history, responsibilities, and reasons for leaving their current job.
  • Address logistics: Set up the interview date and provide detailed instructions telling the candidate where to go, what time to be there, how long the interview will take, etc.
  • Develop an in-person interview script, and use it for each applicant. The script should include standard interview questions, as well as information about the position and the company.
  • Make sure you can recite the benefits your company offers.
  • Establish an interview time schedule to keep you on track.

Setting The Tone

On the day of the interview, make sure you have a quiet setting where you will be uninterrupted. Look over the candidate’s resume, and have a copy of the job description ready.

When the applicant arrives, take a few minutes to relax the candidate and establish a rapport. Discuss areas of interest — sports, current events, or, if all else fails, the weather! A relaxed candidate will be more likely to open up during the interview. Rapport-building also enables you to lay the foundation for a potential future working relationship.

After small talk, explain the structure of the interview. Your organized approach will make a strong, professional impression. Say the interview will take about one hour and will be structured in this order:

  1. You will be asking questions of the candidate.
  2. You will tell them more about the position.
  3. You will give them a chance to ask questions.

Probing The Candidate

This is the moment you’ve been waiting for! The key is to keep asking questions until you are satisfied that you have enough information to form an opinion on a particular trait. For example, is the candidate a hard worker? What about reliability?

Ask open-ended questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. You should be talking 30 percent of the time and listening to the candidate’s responses 70 percent of the time. Also, note body language. And remember, proper note-taking is essential. You may be conducting several interviews, and you want to be able to accurately rate and compare candidates later.

Go through the applicant’s employment background and take particular note of their specific duties, reasons for leaving, and any gaps in employment. Ask practical questions — Can you physically do this job? Are you able to work weekends? Do you have reliable transportation? — and then head into deeper waters.

Pose a few scenarios and ask the applicant to relate their experience. For management positions, you may want to ask about a time they dealt with an irate customer. What about an employee who habitually shows up late?

Here are a few more probing questions:

  1. What has been your biggest challenge as a supervisor?
  2. What was your greatest success or accomplishment?
  3. What do you see yourself doing in a few years?

Selling the Job

You want to present the position positively while setting proper expectations about the job. Review the job description with the applicant, and then go over other pertinent information: the training program, compensation, employee benefits, and work hours. Also, highlight the growth of the company and opportunities for advancement.

By the end of the interview, you must sell the candidate on the job and handle any objections they may have. You want them to walk away wanting the job, so you can be confident they would accept the position if offered.

Wrapping It Up

After addressing any questions posed by the candidate, ask one final question: “If you were offered this position, would you take it?” If they answer “no”, find out why. If the answer is “yes”, still ask why. You are trying to determine their current motivation.

Before sending them on their way, make sure you communicate the next steps in the process. It’s best to set up a specific date and time that you will notify the candidate of your decision.

Want to attract better candidates, improve the quality of new employees, and reduce turnover at your company?

Contact us today or call (239) 334-1050 to learn more.