Conduct Better Interviews with These 5 Tips

By Jezabel Southard

Posted on February 19, 2016

interviewInterviewing is a skill. For hiring managers, it is an essential skill. Yet it is a skill that is rarely, if ever, taught. Instead, managers are left to pick it up on the fly – and the results are every bit as inconsistent as you would expect.

Because interviewing is so often treated as a “learn-as-you-go” process, many managers find it difficult to do well. Instead, they find themselves “tripped up” by details, often without even realizing it. Inconsistent results – or worse, choosing the wrong candidate for the job – can easily happen.

Here are five ways to hold better interviews and get better results:

Build your own “prep time” into the process.

Before the interview takes place, schedule half an hour to review the candidate’s application materials. Make notes: Which items on the resume trouble you, if any? What do you want to know more about? Based on the application, how much do you think the candidate knows about the position and the company, and how enthusiastic do they seem?

The best candidates prepare for their interviews carefully. Show you’re the best employer for them by preparing as well.

Ask every candidate (several of) the same questions.

For every candidate, there will be one or two things you’ll want to ask about specifically – like a specific project listed on their resume. Overall, however, it pays to keep your questions to candidates as uniform as possible. This way, you can compare answers across candidates and glean important details regarding each candidate’s talent, enthusiasm, and personality “fit” with your company.

Use behavioral interview questions to see what candidates are really likely to do.

When you want to know how a candidate handles setbacks, which do you ask: “How do you handle setbacks?” or “Tell me about a time you failed. What happened and how did you respond?”

While both questions seek the same basic information, the second one asks the candidate to explain how he has already behaved in this situation, while the first asks the candidate to imagine how he would like to behave. The second, known as a “behavioral” question, gives you a more realistic view of the candidate’s actual performance when a setback occurs. While aspirations are necessary for growth, actual behavior is a better indicator of the candidate’s approach.

Seek information on the candidate’s “fit” with your company.

A candidate with outstanding skills and a track record of success sounds great on paper – but if he doesn’t “fit” with your organization, the candidate will struggle on the job. The team may struggle as well. Seek out information on “fit” by asking questions like “What is your ideal work space?” or “If you could change one thing about your last boss, what would it be?” Candidates who describe a work space you don’t provide or a boss exactly like the supervisor they’ll have, may not be the right fit for you.

Don’t forget to ask about soft skills.

“Soft” skills apply to nearly any job, and they separate outstanding professionals from merely competent ones. They include abilities like problem solving, time management, communication, conflict resolution, and attention to detail. Remember to ask interpersonal interview questions about the soft skills most relevant to the position.

Interviews are a crucial part of the recruiting and hiring process. If you are looking for assistance with your staffing needs, consider partnering with the recruiting experts at TERRA Staffing. At TERRA Staffing, our recruiters help clients conduct better interviews, find better candidates, and keep hiring costs and time to hire in control. Contact us today to learn more about our recruiting services in Phoenix, Portland and Seattle.

Categories: HR and Management Advice

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