3 Strategies to Make Job Interviews More Productive

Hiring managers who prepare for a round of interviews typically spend their time working on the questions they plan to ask each candidate. If you focus only on the questions, however, you’re missing an opportunity.

An interview is more than just a question-and-answer session. It’s also an opportunity to converse with a candidate, to find out what makes them “tick” as a person, and to gauge whether they will fit in well with the rest of the team. As in any conversation, details matter.

Since interviews can be stressful for interviewees, taking these three steps to prepare a welcoming environment can help them relax – and help you see the person behind the resume:

Prepare the interview space.

Just as you’d spend time preparing your dining room for a dinner party, prepare your office with an eye to making it welcoming and comfortable. Decrease clutter and make sure the candidate has a clear path from the door to the chair. When the candidate arrives, be ready for them. Focus on staying calm, relaxed, and polite; if you act as if you’re happy to have this conversation, the interviewee will, too. Offer the candidate some water, coffee or tea, and start the conversation with a bit of friendly small talk.

Help the candidate feel like an equal professional.

As the interviewer, you have a great deal of power in the interview setting – but exercising it can feel to the candidate as if you are imposing, which can create a very negative impression of the job and the company as a whole. Instead, work hard to treat the candidate like a valuable resource from whom you want to learn. Resist the urge to mention how hard it was to make time in your schedule for the interview or to get distracted while the candidate is talking. Instead, frame the interview as a conversation between professionals. Doing so will encourage the candidate to do the same, prompting him or her to share their best work.

Offer thoughtful questions and follow-ups.

Good candidates have spent several hours researching your company and the position, and they come with insightful questions about the role and the organization as a whole. Show respect and appreciation for this effort by responding in kind: When you prepare your interview questions, choose substantive, open-ended questions the candidates can think about and respond to meaningfully. Don’t force the candidate to rate him- or herself with questions like “Do you think you can do this job?” or “How would you rate yourself as an employee?” Instead, ask about specific accomplishments and duties, then make the ratings yourself after the interview is over.

At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters help you improve every step of the hiring process, from finding better candidates to screening them more effectively. Contact us today to learn more.

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