Top 6 Interview Tips

At some point in their careers most managers or HR members make the transition from their regular duties to interviewing, and just like a first date it can take a few times before you get over those jitters. For those of you who are still getting used to it, here are our top 6 interview tips:

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1. Research, research, research

There are hundreds of interview techniques out there and for good reason – not all companies are the same, therefore they don’t all require the same interview techniques. The key is finding the right one for you.

Take some time to think about your company, and how your interview style will reflect it’s key qualities. For example, if the foundation of your employer branding is fun, young and sociable then it might appropriate for you to adopt a more relaxed (as opposed to formal) interview technique.

Tip:

Run through your interview techniques with a colleague and see how they react. Role play is a great way to test out your interview style, plus your co-worker can help you gage if you’re accurately representing your company values.

2. First impressions are key

Remember the saying “the interview starts in the parking lot”? It doesn’t just apply to candidates. When you invite someone in for interview it’s crucial that they get a good overall impression of the company – not just of you.

Think of it this way, you’ve put in hours of time and effort into finding and selecting your top contenders, is it worth throwing all of that away just because someone forgot to take the rubbish out that morning? Your office may be able to turn a blind eye to that overflowing bin but a candidate won’t.

Tip:

Take a test run on the day of the interview to make sure that the reception, workplace and interview room is clean, tidy and organized. It also helps to brief reception staff, so that they’re ready to welcome candidates.

3. Body language

When you first meet your candidate it’s vital that you offer them a warm smile and a confident handshake (that’s firm, not crushing). By greeting your candidate with warmth and confidence you will put them at ease and it’ll set the scene for the rest of the interview.

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During the interview it is important that you don’t accidentally lead your candidate into answering one way or another depending on your body language. For example, be aware of nodding or leaning forward when you like what you hear, it may prompt a candidate to elaborate where they normally wouldn’t have.

Tip:

Apparently 80% of our communication is nonverbal, so without going to extremes (you don’t need to maintain a poker face) just be aware of what your body is saying and try and remain neutral.

4. Question time

So, finally you can put all of that preparation into practice. No matter what interview technique you decided on, it’s important that the questions flow – that means no reading from a list in front of you. Notes are fine (we don’t all have the memory of Rain Man) but just try not to rely on them.

It is important however, to take notes on what your candidate is saying. Once you have asked a question, preferably an open ended one, listen to what they have to say and jot down the key points – you’ll thank yourself for it later when you’re on candidate number 5.

Tip:

Unless you’re asking if they’d like a cup of coffee, avoid questions that will prompt your candidate to reply with a yes/no answer. This won’t tell you much about them so leave room for your interviewee to elaborate instead.

5.There’s no rush

Even if it’s vital that your position gets filled as quickly as possible, resist the temptation to extend an offer during interview. Even if you are blown away by someone, don’t suggest or imply anything that will indicate your final decision.

You may think candidate number 3 is perfect, but candidate number 6 might top them tenfold – you just never know. It’s worth sleeping on it, and discussing with any colleagues who are involved with the hiring process – as the saying goes, two heads are better than one.

Tip:

Recruitment software offers a great solution to this part of the interview process by giving you a platform from which you can discuss, compare and rate your candidates within your hiring team (even those who weren’t present during interview). The software allows you to upload your notes and comments for everyone to see, so the decision making process becomes both quicker and more effective.

6. Play fair

By this point in the interview process you’ve hopefully made your decision and are excited to welcome a new hire onboard. Congratulations! All of that hard work has paid off, and thanks to your methodical preparation the newbie should fit in well.

However, it’s important not to forget to inform the other candidates. These guys have been putting a lot of time and effort into the interview process too, and to do all of that and not hear anything at the end is extremely frustrating.

Tip:

Just because they weren’t quite right for this particular position doesn’t necessarily mean that the remaining candidates are wrong for your company. It’s worth asking if you can keep their resume on hold for future positions. This will help you to quickly fill upcoming positions, plus is softens to blow when it comes to rejecting a candidate.

Any tips on how to conduct the perfect interview? We’d love to hear them, leave your thoughts or suggestions in the comments section below.

Image Reference – Flickr Sam L and Techgen Staffer

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