How to conduct an effective job interview
Organizations may receive a pile of resumes once they publish an ad for a job opportunity. A few of them will be selected and then comes the most important process- the interview. So, here is the million-dollar question—how do you conduct a job interview?
If we are asking this to the HR managers of some of the top companies, they would quote their long experience and tell that they have been doing it for so long and what’s the big deal? Well, doing something for long doesn’t necessarily mean that you have been doing it ‘right’.
The most common trend is to ask the same set of questions which we have been blindly following for decades: Where do you see yourself after 5 years? What are your strengths and weaknesses? After all these usual questions, the organization will hire the candidate believing that he/she would efficiently perform the responsibilities.
Probably after two or three months, you may realize that the employee’s performance is not up to the mark. So, who should we blame? Why did we fail to evaluate him/her in the beginning? Let’s see what we can do to improve the effectiveness of interviews that can help you hire the right candidate and save the costs lost on bad hires.
Tips for Interviewers
There are no hard and fast rules for conducting interviews. However, there are certain things that you can implement to improve your interview skills.
- Prepare well
Even if you have a good understanding of the role for which you are hiring, it is ideal to prepare for the interview to avoid mistakes and unexpected situations. Before meeting the candidates, you should have a clear idea about the expectations and qualities of the candidate that you are looking for. You can note down the attributes and prepare your questions based on them.
Make a checklist and ensure that you have done the following:
- Go through the candidate’s resume and keep a printout with you during the interview
- Review the work samples, if any, that the candidate has submitted
- Check the job description to ensure that you know all the requirements
2. Make the candidate comfortable
If you ask me to tell a situation in which I was so stressed, I can reply without a second thought that it was the day of my interview. Most of the individuals will be at their wit's end during interviews and some may even behave weirdly. So, the interviewers must consider these emotions. They should make the candidate comfortable if they want to achieve the best results. It is better to start with informal communication and let them relax before you begin serious job-related questions.
3. Avoid personal biases
Human beings will have certain biases and prejudices which have been developed through the experiences and beliefs in their life. These biases may affect the way they assess other people and the final judgment in the interview. For instance, some may think that overqualified candidates are job hoppers and avoid hiring them. So, the interviewers must be able to discover their own biases and deliberately avoid them while deciding for the interview.
4. Mention the next steps in the hiring process
Since the candidates have spent their time to attend the interview, they deserve to know the next step. Even if a candidate is not selected, you should mention the timeframe within which the organization will get back to them. In this way, you can avoid giving false hopes and making people wait for a long time. It also helps to build a good image of your company among the public and the candidates will also consider applying for future opportunities.
5. End on a positive note
The closure of the interview matters a lot. Even though you are not impressed by a candidate, you should respect his time and efforts. Treat all candidates well and wish them the best for their future endeavours. You need to be professional in hiring as well as rejecting.
How to Prepare Interview Questions
This is the most important area where you should spend a great deal of time. The right candidate should have the required skills and also the ‘right’ attitude. It is better to blend different types of questions to evaluate the candidate. Questions related to the hard skills can help to understand if he/she will be able to perform the job at hand. At the same time, behavioural questions will throw light on his/her character and attitude.
Behavioural questions can let you assess the teamwork, leadership skills, problem-solving skills, time-management skills and communication skills of the candidates. It will help you to choose between candidates who seem to be equally fit for the position. You can use the behavioural questions to assess the candidate in terms of your company's core values or role-specific qualities. For instance, if you're hiring a salesperson, ask a question to understand how he/she will deal with customer complaints and in case of a team leader, ask a question that reveals his/her leadership qualities.
Following are some examples of behavioural interview questions:
- What was the most stressful situation in your previous job? How did you deal with it?
- Imagine that you don’t like the way your team member behaves with the clients despite being a top performer. How will you explain this to him/her as a team leader?
- Have you missed an important deadline? What will you do next time to complete tasks on time?
Structured and Unstructured Interviews
There are mainly two types of interview-structured interviews and unstructured interviews. In a structured interview, there will be a set format and all the questions are prepared in advance. On the other hand, the unstructured interview is not planned and doesn't have a format. It typically follows an informal approach wherein the interviewer and interviewee have an informal conversation.
The interviewer may have planned some questions but skip some of them during the interview. In the case of an unstructured interview, the interviewer should possess in-depth knowledge in the specific industry. The unstructured interviews can make the candidates comfortable but structured interviews have more possibilities in leading to the best hiring decisions.
Just like the interview is a crucial step in the life of an individual, it is equally important for your business. Make sure that you take a professional approach and methodically execute the process to ensure that your choice is right.