How to Conduct a Job Interview

How to Conduct a Job Interview

Conducting a job interview requires thorough preparation from both parties, whether the interview is going to be held virtually through software apps like Zoom or GoogleMeet or in-person in your company’s plush meeting room. If you are an interviewer, your main aim is to assess a candidate or applicant. However, assessment requires skills. For the duration of the interview, you are the face of the company, representing it and trying your best to make the best hire. Your actions will reflect on the company and can either cost or gain the company a potential employee. So you see, interviewing is more than sitting across a candidate in a fancy suit and throwing questions. You need to be as prepared as the person you are interviewing because it should be a two-way conversation. To make sure it goes smoothly and the best results are achieved, you need to do all you can to make the experience comfortable and worthwhile for yourself and the person sitting across you. This article contains three very helpful tips that will ensure that your next interview is the best you have ever conducted.

How to Conduct an Effective Job Interview

  • Know What You’re Looking For: As an interviewer, it is important to know, or at least have, an outline of the description of the tasks and responsibilities associated with the role you are interviewing for. Not every candidate who walks into your office will qualify for the position. In most cases, just one person is selected out of tens. When you are acquainted with the needs of the company and specifically, the job description, you will have an idea of what the right person should be like. If there have been prior assessments before the interview, go through the results of the tests before the interview. It would help you know the strong and weak points of each candidate and how they tie into the reason why the company is hiring. If the company is recruiting for multiple roles, based on previous performances, you can fashion an interview that could point you to the best place a candidate will fit in.

Ask yourself the most important question, What kind of person does this role require? Does it need someone who is physically strong? A young, fresh mind? For instance, you may need a confident, outspoken and convincing candidate for a sales and marketing position. While for a backend office role, you may look out for other qualities. If you are an outsourced interviewer, familiarize yourself with the values and needs of the organization. That way, you know what qualities and skills match the company’s needs. Outlining your expectations will help you recognize red flags – when you know what to expect, you immediately recognize what’s not needed. Defining your expectations will also aid you in analyzing a candidate’s performance (because an interview is quite different from a math test that has a definite answer and a marking scheme). Many interview questions are not polar questions that require a plain “yes” or “no.” The questions are meant to draw out the candidates and from their replies, you determine if their goals align with that of the company. When you know what to look out for, you will find the next task which is preparing your questions quite easy.


  • Prepare Your Questions… and Answers: Have your questions handy. Imagine a scenario where you keep on repeating the same question or asking blatantly, obvious ones. It is definitely going to be an awkward one. Stuttering or drifting off because you don’t know what to ask may make a candidate have a rethink. He or she may begin to think that the company is unready and does not value the time they have taken out to attend the interview. To prepare genuine questions, try to think like a candidate. This will help you know how and when to ask auxiliary questions, what answers to expect, and possible questions an interviewee may ask you. Interviewees will surely have questions about the company’s work style, core values, and remuneration.

Depending on the type of interview, there could even be room for salary negotiation. You are in a hot seat as much as the candidates are! Preparation is key. Start as early as possible to collate your questions, certainly not on the morning of the interview. Go through candidates’ resumes to grasp important points like their most recent work experience and their skills. You could base some of your questions there. For instance: “Your CV shows that you took a course in a specific area last year. How do you hope to use the skills learned in this role?” If you are interviewing for a field you are not too familiar with, then you need to get familiar with the common terms associated with the role. You don’t have to cram all the interview questions. Here’s a tip most people have found helpful: Write out your questions and have them close by, preferably on the table next to you. The jotter or device where you have your questions will come in handy when it is time to take notes.


  • Maintain Decorum: Be polite. This includes being on time and greeting the candidate with a handshake or any other form of greeting customary to your area. Nothing wrong with a smile too. It is normal for candidates to feel jittery and nervous. Do not heighten it, rather try to keep them calm and relaxed. Remember, it’s a formal meeting, not a police interrogation. Address candidates by their proper title. Make a considerable effort by knowing their names, and the correct pronunciation if possible, beforehand. Give them ample time to speak and actively listen without interrupting when they do. Listening is very important in an interview because it is the only way you can learn more about the candidate presented on a CV.

The interview is supposed to reveal deeper details that will help you in your assessment and you can only gain this insight when you listen carefully. Refrain from making the interview about yourself or talking about all you have accomplished while working there. The interviewee should do more of the talking. You can participate by showing appropriate body language such as nodding and maintaining eye contact. Politely redirect the conversation if a candidate is rambling or drifting away. However, try as much as possible to create a comfortable atmosphere. You can start by introducing yourself and any other person present. Dress well too. If the company style does not require a suit or corporate wear, then there is no need to be all serious. Like we have already pointed out, you are making a statement – representing the entirety of the organization. Sell the role to the candidate not just by your words, but actions.


Final Thoughts

There are other things you can do to ensure a remarkable job interview like making sure the interview space is free of distractions and neat. You could also have bottles of water handy. If the interview is virtual, make sure your connection is strong and your device is charged. There are also things you can do after the interview like asking for feedback and getting back to the candidate through email or phone call. Sometimes, it may even be necessary to schedule a second interview.

With the tips on how to conduct a job interview mentioned in this article, you will be conducting interviews like a pro in no time.


Employer Articles, Interview Tips

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