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10 Tips on How to Conduct an Interview Effectively

James Voytek
June 19, 2021

While conducting an interview may seem simple, it’s not an easy task. A lot of preparation goes into conducting an effective job interview. Unfortunately, many hiring managers do not prepare as well as they should for this critical step, leading to costly hiring mistakes. The cost of a bad hire is steep, and we are not just talking about salary. Training costs, severance payments, hiring a replacement, and customer service problems are things that can significantly impact a business’s budget.

An ideal job interview should give us a chance to learn more about the candidate and the candidate a chance to know more about the company. Learning how to conduct an interview is extremely important for hiring the best candidates for the business.

Here are some tips for conducting an interview effectively:

1. Be prepared

Preparing for the interview is the first step to conducting a job interview effectively. Begin by reviewing the job description and gain insight into what the hiring manager is looking for in a candidate. We must also go over a candidate’s resume so that we understand their work history. Consider the needs of the job role and then compare them with the education, experience, and skills of the candidates. We can use these requirements to frame intentional interview questions to hire the right people for the job.

2. Start strong

For those who are wondering how to start an interview, begin by putting the candidate at ease. Most candidates attending interviews are anxious and nervous. When we make a candidate feel comfortable, we see their true personality and not the nerves. Some may argue that it is a good way to understand how a person performs under stress, but that should not be the only barometer for judging a candidate.

We should also resist the temptation to jump straight into the interview questions. Instead, we should introduce ourselves so that the candidate understands who we are and what our role in the organization is. It is also advisable to let the candidate know about the steps in the interview process so that they can mentally plan out things.

3. Understand the STAR interview format

STAR is an acronym that stands for situation, task, action, and result. It is an interview technique used to gather relevant information about a specific capability for a job. Generally, job candidates use the STAR method to answer behavioral interview questions. For instance, they may tell you about a time when they used a particular skill to overcome a specific challenge at the workplace.

If the interviewee does not use the STAR method to answer the questions, the interviewer can use it to request more information or create follow-up questions. For instance, we can ask the interviewee to be more specific or describe the results of their action.

4. Give a background of the company and details about the job role

It is a good idea to give a little background about the company at the beginning of the interview. We should also explain how the position they are interviewing for fits into the goals and objectives of the organization. Doing so will give the interviewee a better understanding of the responsibilities and expectations of the job role.

5. Learn about the candidate’s career goals

Understanding the career goals of a candidate gives us an insight into what their expectations are in terms of professional development. It also helps us assess their understanding of the company and the position they are interviewing for.

6. Ask specific questions related to the job.

Before getting started with the interview, it is always useful to have a list of questions ready related to the job. Such questions can give the interviewer an opportunity to see how closely aligned the candidate is with the duties and responsibilities of the position. Going over the job description carefully can help the interviewer understand how to ask the right interview questions. If there are multiple candidates, preparing a list of questions beforehand can also help us compare the answers of different candidates.

7. Seek more information through follow-up questions

We should not restrict ourselves only to the questions that we have prepared beforehand. To ensure that we select the best candidates for the job, it is necessary to seek more information by asking follow-up questions. We can ask the interviewees to expand more on their answers. Doing so will give us more information about their personality, work experience, and the way they think.

8. Make sure to take notes.

While we are interviewing a candidate, our sole focus is on how to perform an interview. It is quite likely that we may forget vital information gathered during the interview, especially if there were multiple candidates. Taking down notes during an interview can help us remember important details after the interview is over. When making notes, we should write about our first impression of the candidate and any other information that we can glean from their answers. We should also write down about the body language of the candidate during the interview to gain an insight into their personality.

However, it is extremely important to strike a balance between active listening and note-taking. We should ensure to fully engage in the conversation and only pause once in a while to take down notes.

9. Allow the candidates to ask questions.

A job interview is not just about the interviewer asking questions and the candidate answering. During a job interview, it is important to give the candidate a chance to ask questions about the job and the company. It gives them an opportunity to assess if the position is the right fit for them and also gives us a chance to measure their interest in the job.

10. Describe the next steps.

When ending the interview, it is good to explain to the candidate what they can expect in terms of the next steps. We should also let them know when they should expect to hear back from us and how the rest of the interview process might look like.

When we know how to conduct a job interview, we can find out a lot more information from the job application and resume, making the interview more effective. We can prepare relevant interview questions beforehand, ensuring that we only select those candidates whose skills, experience, and personality aligns with the job in question. Basic preparation about how to conduct an interview can help us prevent costly hiring mistakes.