Conducting a killer interview could make all the difference in hiring the best talent for your business. Therefore, you want to make sure you’re prepared and ready to interview the candidates with an open mind. However, not only is the interview process rather daunting for the interviewee, it can be nerve-wracking for the interviewer. Moreover, it can be hard to know the best way to use this small amount of time to assess and get to know a near stranger.

The rise of social media, along with globalisation, has meant that the employment market has improved dramatically for candidates. They have more options than ever, meaning pipelines have become depleted and companies are facing more competition than ever for top talent. Applicants can now get their hands on vast amounts of information about the companies they’re applying to. Many argue that career websites such as Glassdoor have taken the mystery out of the interview process. If people have left bad reviews about your interview process, candidates will simply go elsewhere. As a result, not only is your job to assess the candidates, its your job to convince the best ones to stay. Therefore, using our 20 years of experience in the recruitment industry, we have worked together to give you our top tips for how you can conduct a killer interview. If you need some ideas on how to write the job description for the role you’re interviewing for, read our blog on how to write a winning one.

First things first, prepare your questions.

You know what your business needs. You know the personality type that would fit in with your team. Furthermore, you know the level of skills and experience a candidate needs in order to succeed within the vacancy you’re hiring for. As a result, before you meet the candidates face to face, you need to prepare the right questions. You can begin this process by compiling a list of the required attributes. If you’re looking for some inspiration, why not look to your top performers? What traits do they have in common? What have they accomplished prior to getting to where they are today? The answers to these will allow you to conduct the relevant questions.

Don’t complicate things.

Something we’ve never understood is why interviewers like to over complicate the process for candidates. You’ve been in their position before, so you know what it’s like. What will my interviewer be like? What will I be asked? What should I wear? Therefore, an interview, for most people, is an extremely stressful experience. It’s proven that people do not perform well when they’re stressed. Therefore, why not help a candidate out? Let them know the topics you’d like to discuss so they can prepare. Be flexible. Meet the candidate at a time that works well for them. Let them know well in advance about your organisations dress code. By making them comfortable, you’re more likely to have a professional, productive conversation and keep their blood pressure down!

Involve others (but not too many).

Hiring a new candidate will be an added expense for the business. Therefore, you want to make sure that you’ve chosen the right person for the job to make it worthwhile. A second (or third) opinion goes a long way in the interview process. So why not invite a couple of trusted colleagues to help you interview? You should be conscious that monarchy doesn’t work. However, too much democracy can also be ineffective. Peer interviews are highly effective! It allows your team to have a say in the hiring process, demonstrating to them that their opinion matters. You may have found the best candidate in the world, but if they’re not a team fit, this almost becomes meaningless.


Is this person a future manager?

Set aside plenty of time for each interview, enough to allow you to assess the individual fairly. Are they showing signs of determination, engagement, curiosity and insight? Let’s say this person is going to be promoted to a manager within your business one day. You need to ask yourself, not only is this person right for the job today, but can they do this job a year from now when the world has changed. A good way to assess this would be to ask the candidate how they feel they learn best and where they feel the industry is heading. John Sullivan, a HR expert explains “No one can predict the future, but you want someone who is thinking about it every day”.

Don’t stick to the status quo.

How many times have you asked, or been asked the typical “what are your weaknesses” interview question? You might as well just say “lie to me”. You know what happens day to day within the organisation, so why not ask them how they would handle a real situation? Let them know what your team is currently struggling with and ask them for a resolution for this. Discuss the processes you use and see if they know a way to make them more efficient. Ask USEFUL questions that will help you gain a better understanding as to whether they’re a good fit for YOUR business.

Sell, sell, sell.

If the interview has got off to a good start and the candidate is looking promising, spend some time selling both the role and the organisation. Don’t be ignorant. Understand that interviewing is a two-way street. They’re evaluating you as much as you’re evaluating them, so you also need to impress. Nobody wants to feel awkward for an hour or two, so be sure to make the interview fun and engaging. Why not ask them if there is anyone they’d like to meet, as your team could be your secret weapon. Sullivan states that the best people to sell the job are those who live it.   

Hopefully, these tips will help you feel more confident when conducting an interview. Moreover, it might encourage you to change the way you do things in order to get the best out of the interview process.

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