Do you know how to conduct a successful interview?
Interviews are a vital part of the hiring process, but they’re not always done effectively.
A lot of people will choose to have an informal coffee chat, which isn’t really an interview. An informal chat can easily drift into irrelevant areas and you could come away not knowing whether the person’s skills actually match the job’s requirements.
Make every interview a successful interview by following these simple steps.
How to Conduct a Successful Interview
1. Find a quiet spot
Although you might prefer a more casual setting, the café down the road is not the best location for a successful interview. It’s noisy and there are interruptions and distractions that can disrupt the flow and focus of the interview.
Find a quiet room or area where you won’t be interrupted. This could be at your workplace or somewhere close by.
2. Know their CV well
Make sure you know their CV and application well. Re-read it before you interview them and take it with you to the interview. During the interview, you want to be able to drill down on specific parts of their application so you can get a clear idea of their prior experience and how well suited they are to the job.
3. Structure the interview
You should have specific core questions related to the job and how they work in a team. You can ask other questions and discuss other things, as long as you make sure that you ask each of those specific questions at some point in the interview. Have your core questions written on a piece of paper that you can refer to – that will help you avoid having any massive gaps in information simply because you forgot to ask one.
4. Interview with another person
If you can, have another person with you at the interview. Ideally, this will be someone from within your organisation (preferably someone who has knowledge of the job), but an independent person will do as well. Everyone interprets things differently, so having another person’s opinion is valuable and will help you avoid bias – plus, they might pick up on something you didn’t.
5. Ask job relevant questions
Your questions should target the criteria you’ve set up for the job and test a person’s knowledge in those areas.
Use open ended questions like “Tell me about your experience in…”, or scenario based questions such as “How would you handle a situation where…” (and then present them with a hypothetical situation to deal with).
Asking a hypothetical question can be a good way to evaluate how familiar they are with a particular process and how they would deal with specific tough issues that could come up in the job.
Avoid questions that require a yes/no answer, because they won’t give you specific enough information.
6. Be aware of what you can’t ask
Conducting a successful interview isn’t just about what you should do, but also what you shouldn’t do. Remember that you can’t ask questions about the interviewee’s age, race, gender, sexuality, religion, impairment, marital status, and if they’re currently or likely to get pregnant.
If you do, even jokingly, you and the organisation could end up in front of the Industrial Commission as a result – we can all do without this.
Make sure you are fully informed and read the fact sheets provided by the Equal Opportunity Commission.
Here are some useful links:
7. Take notes
Take notes while you talk, so that when the person has left, you’ve got something to review. They don’t have to be super detailed, but they should be enough to let you quickly recall the things they did well, things they didn’t quite hit the mark on, and any gaps in their experience.
You might want to use a rating scale to record how good their specific skills are against each of the job criteria. This will help your recall of each person and make comparison between applicants easier. You can use an interview rating matrix like the one provided here: Interview Rating Matrix.
8. Summarise the interview
You don’t necessarily need to rank each person like you did when you were sorting through resumes, but it’s a good idea to summarise the strengths and weaknesses that were revealed in the interview so you can get a quick overview of each person you interviewed.
Then you can evaluate, or discuss with your interview partner, who rated highest and who would be best suited to the job and the team.
This will also give you a good point of reference to draw on when you are contacting referees, which is another vital part of the hiring process.
Tune in next week for some tips on tricks about how to get the most out of a referee check.
Director, Your HR on Tap
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