How to Interview Someone for a Job
Most people have been interviewed at least once in their professional career – interviews are an important part of the employment journey.
First impressions can sometimes mean everything – and this isn’t just for candidates to take into consideration.
Hiring managers need to understand that the impression they give the interviewee applying for the role is important too. They need to fully represent the ethos and reputation of the company and get the best out of the candidate.
Why Is It Important to Learn How to Interview Someone?
As mentioned above, an interview is a great way to see a candidate face-to-face and ask the questions you need to ensure they are right for the role.
If you are a new hiring manager, it is imperative that you try to learn the basic techniques of interviewing.
There are several things you must take into consideration before you start interviewing people. For example, consider the following questions:
- How do you greet a candidate?
- How do you ensure they feel comfortable?
- How many questions should you ask?
- What questions are appropriate or inappropriate?
This article will discuss the ins and outs of the interview process and what you need to ensure a good interview takes place.
Good interviewing skills bode well in the hiring process and will make the business look more professional, sustaining the organization’s reputation. It can come across as obvious if somebody is just making up questions on the spot.
Not hosting a good interview can be detrimental to the business as you may miss crucial information you need to make a hiring decision. You might also hire someone who might not have the necessary skills the job role requires of them. This would waste the interviewee’s time as well as the hiring manager.
It can also create a poor experience for the person interviewing for the role, who might not hold the company in good stead going forward. As noted earlier, this can be detrimental to the business’s reputation. It can also cause unnecessary stress to potential candidates.
Additionally, aside from wasting the time of both parties, it can costs money to pay recruiters to search for the talent on the company’s behalf, which would be wasted with a bad interview.
The Benefits of a Good Interview
- You will ask the right questions – this is imperative to ensure you get the right information from the interviewee.
- The interview experience will be a positive one for both you and the candidate.
- You won’t waste time and/or money on the interview process – getting further recruitment agencies involved or restarting the hiring process.
- You will keep your and the business's reputation intact. If a potential candidate enjoyed the experience, then it could be something they remember during their employment life.
- A good interview gives hiring managers the opportunity to ask further questions about the information that they might not have seen listed on the candidate’s resume.
Why Are Job Interviews Used in the Hiring Process?
This might be an obvious question. But when you are on your tenth in a week, sometimes you can wonder why job interviews are used in the hiring process at all.
The main reason is that it allows a manager or business to meet their potential employees – this is a good chance to see if you think someone’s personality is a good fit for your business when growing your team.
It also gives the candidate the chance to get to know their potential employer and, if they are going into the office, see what the culture is like. This means there is less chance of someone choosing to work in a place where they do not fit with the existing members or energy.
Body language and eye contact is an important part of the process. In-person interviews mean you can see someone’s body language and the way they connect with the hiring manager when being asked questions.
How to Interview Someone for a Job
Depending on the company or business that is hiring, there might be more than one interview that takes place within the process. Some roles might involve several interviews with different members of the team and senior management.
This is all the more reason to learn how to interview someone for a job properly.
Here are a few pointers to help ensure the interviews you are giving are as effective as can be:
Before the Interview
Set up a timer – Time each interview and ensure they don’t go over the allotted time. You’ll gain a better understanding of how many questions you can ask in the allotted time – taking into consideration the time it takes for the candidate to provide an appropriate answer.
Be prepared – Make sure you are prepared before the candidate arrives for the interview. This way, you won’t be wasting the limited time you have to ask questions. Print out their resume and prepare the questions in advance. You don’t want any awkward silences. Also, by doing your research, you’ll be able to ask the right questions.
Prepare effective questions – This should go without saying. But sometimes, if you have not already investigated the candidate, you won’t be able to ask them the right questions for the role, thus not getting the answers you need. Come up with the questions that will get you relevant information not already available on their resume. Core questions cover the interviewee’s previous experience, interest in the role, personal strengths and how they handle challenges.
Location, location, location – Think of the best space to host the interview. Are there any distractions? Is the lighting good? Will the candidate feel comfortable and at ease during the interview? Your interview space may have to change if something like building works is happening nearby; assess the location regularly.
Know what you want – Before you even start the hiring process you must ensure you know what skills and personality you want from a candidate. Decipher these desired attributes before the actual interview, otherwise, you can get caught up in the weeds investigating a trait that is ultimately unhelpful. This should be part of the work when writing the job description.
During the Interview
Let the candidate know what to expect – Explain the structure of the interview before you start asking questions; it’s good for the candidate to know the general shape of the interview, so they can accurately decide when certain information is relevant. Also, let them know ahead of time if the interview will contain more unusual elements such as games – you want a candidate to be as prepared as possible.
Stick to a simple interview structure – By following a simple template, you will know how to start the interview and finish it, within the allotted time. This preparation will also make you feel more confident when you are conducting the interview. This helps especially if you have multiple interviews to do in one day.
Get on the same page – Make it clear what the role they are interviewing for entails and the skills you are looking for to fill the position. In addition to the candidate giving you the information you need you must communicate the wants and needs of the job role there and then. Be transparent with tasks, skills and organizational culture, as the candidate needs to determine whether this is the right role for them from their end too.
Encourage the interviewee to ask questions whether it be about the company or the role specifically – This will give them the opportunity to show they have done their homework and know the facts about the company.
After the Interview
Use a set judgement system – Think about how you will judge the strengths and weaknesses of each candidate. You could consider a candidate rating system based on the essential and desirable criteria of the role to help you decide which one might be best suited for the job in question.
Explain the next steps – Ensure you are transparent about how/when you will be getting in touch with them about the outcome and next steps, this will give the candidate clarity and know where they stand.
Don’t ghost them – Keep in touch with the candidate so they know the situation. If someone is unsuccessful, see if you can prepare relevant feedback to help them going forward. Being “ghosted” by companies – hearing nothing back, positive or negative, after an interview – is a current hot topic, with candidates revealing how ghosting leaves a bad taste and turns them against the company.
What Not to Do
Conducting interviews is no easy feat – a lot is riding on the first face-to-face meeting. Here are some mistakes you may make if you are unprepared or not in the zone:
Too much talking – When discussing the company and the job role, it is easy to waffle on about subjects irrelevant to the interview. If you talk too much it may give the interviewee false hope that, because you are talking conversationally, they have been successful with the role.
You talk unprofessional gossip – You might be aware of the candidate’s history, which means there might be scope to discuss stories or swap anecdotes. Avoid this as can come across as being unprofessional and is not relevant to the interview.
Ask the tough questions – Sometimes interviews can be nerve-wracking for both the interviewers and the interviewees, but still ask tough questions that need to be asked. Prepare core questions for each candidate so you are running on schedule. Consider throwing in some problem-solving questions as these can give the candidate a chance to shine and show you their potential.
Do not fall victim to the halo effect – This is where a positive impression of one aspect of somebody, such as their clothing or similarities in culture, impacts your objectivity when assessing their other aspects. Don’t judge a book by its cover. You might see a business-savvy candidate that looks good on paper, but it is important that you still take their answers into consideration as they might lack the actual skillset needed for the job.
Avoid leading questions – A leading question provides the answer that you want at the same time. For example, "You know how to work with spreadsheets, right?" These push for the answer the interviewer wants to hear and not the truth.
Do not invade their privacy – This should not happen if you are following a structured interview process with core questions decided beforehand. You need to keep things relevant to the job in question. Refrain from asking the candidate irrelevant personal questions that could potentially upset them. Questions like these can also cause you to fall foul of equality laws, especially if you ask about the candidate’s age or sexuality.
Do not cause the candidate any stress – You need to ensure the candidate feels comfortable and heard during the interview; they are more than likely nervous enough. Although it is a highly stressful situation, it is best to avoid questions that could deliberately fluster the applicant, that they might not have realised they would be asked. This could hinder their experience with the company and jeopardize its reputation.
Try not to cut the interview off too early – This is especially true if it is going well. This might make the candidate think that it did not go the way they wanted it to. It is understandable to keep interviews brief, especially if you have more than a few in one day. But you need to ensure you have enough time to ask all the questions you need to gauge whether the candidate is right for the position or not. An interview between 45 minutes and 1 hour is often the right amount.
Rate against the job – Do not rate candidates against each other, especially if you felt a better connection to one over the other (this can be the halo effect). Put everything into consideration, like their skill set, work experience and what they can bring to the table, against what the job requires. Do not just pick a potential candidate because you think they will fit in with the team the best if they are not actually equipped to do the job at hand. Each interviewee must be evaluated fairly.
As mentioned at the beginning of this article, interviewing potential new employees is not easy, and it can take some time and effort to acquire the skills you need to conduct a good interview.
Take the steps laid out above and ensure you are following a good structure and that you are getting the most from an interview as possible. But as always, practice, time and research make perfect.
Look back at past interviews to decipher what worked well and what did not, so you can make the necessary changes and interview better in the future.