Being interviewed for a job is stressful. You should expect that each candidate will be somewhat nervous and overly anxious to presents themselves in a favorable light. Therefore, it’s up to you to set a proper tone for the meeting.
In the face-to-face interview, it’s important to determine whether the candidate can do the job and work well with you and others in your organization. Here are some tips to help you conduct a smooth, probing interview:
- The first step in any hiring situation is to determine your requirements. Prepare a list of technical, analytical and managerial skill sets that you seek, along with other skills you prefer but don’t require.
- Before the interview, be sure to review the candidate’s resume and notes from any telephone conversations you may have had. Use this information to prepare a list of close-ended questions (‘yes/no” responses) that probe for the specific job skills required.
- Prepare a list of open-ended questions (questions beginning with “How”, “What”, “In what way”, and “Where”). These are questions that will help you determine a candidate’s level of maturity, character, compatibility and creativity.
- Be on time for the appointment and personally go out and greet the candidate. Don’t keep anyone waiting for more than five minutes past the scheduled interview time.
- Be friendly and relaxed. Don’t take the frustrations of your own job to the interview.
- Be conversational and don’t “rapid-fire” the most pertinent questions you have on your list. Put together a series of questions that will determine if the candidate is qualified and the right fit for the personalities in your organization.
- Avoid direct or indirect questions about national origin, race, marital status, age, religion or disabilities — they’re illegal.
- Remember that interviewing is a two-way street; your job is not only to probe for information, but also to sell yourself, the position and your organization.
- Avoid interruptions during the interview. Hold your calls when possible.
- Be a good listener and give the candidate enough feedback to encourage more in-depth responses.
- Take brief notes during the interview and expand on them immediately after the interview to remind yourself of the candidate’s strengths, weaknesses and areas you might probe during reference checking.