How to Interview Effectively

Updated: Sep 22, 2018

Don’t fall foul of thinking that an interview is a cozy chat or a chance to apply some pressure screws to make your candidate sweat. Neither of these approaches will result in that ‘wow’ employee who makes your business zing.

Recruitment is a funny old beast. There’s a great deal of showmanship – on both sides. However, what you need to do is cut through this and uncover evidence of the skills and attributes you need. This means that effective interviewing starts way before you first shake hands.

Before the Interview

There are two main things you need to do well, before the interview, to ensure the interview itself is effective.

First, you need to really understand the role you’re recruiting for and your employer brand and culture. This gives you a clear idea of which questions and discussions will unearth the facts and evidence you need. Once you’ve done this you can create your list of questions against your criteria.

Next you need to review each interviewee’s application and work out how they match this and what else you need to clarify, test, or find out more about.

At the Interview

Armed and ready, it’s then time to welcome your interviewee. What you don’t want is a candidate who is concentrating more on how to control their sweaty palms than answering your questions. So be upfront, explain the interview structure, explain who is there, and put them at ease. The more comfortable they feel, the better insight you’ll get in to what they will be like on the job.

As you move on to the questions and the discussion element of the interview, you’re going to need to keep your own thoughts and assessment on track. What you’re assessing is the candidate’s potential. You need to listen for evidence of the skills and attributes you need, but you also need to listen for what you don’t hear. These are the gaps that you’ll need to drill in to in order to discover the truth.

This is where your original questions are going to a) come in to their own, and b) need to be flexible. Avoid the cliché questions and instead ask questions that look for two key elements: evidence based solutions and a problem-solving approach. Presenting a lifelike scenario with a ‘what would you do?’ type question can be ideal.

Ticking along in the background you need to be completely in tune with your employer brand and be considering how the interviewee fits in with that. Skills can be taught if potential is there, your culture is what makes your business thrive.

Make it Two Way

Lastly, always bear in mind that an interview is a two-way process. The candidate isn’t the only one in the spotlight. You need to sell the business and sell your branding just as much as you would do when meeting a prospective client.

Get the Professionals on the Case

Effective interviewing is a mixture of art and science. LastminuteHR offer interview guides and support to ensure your technique does what you need it to do.



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