Much of the recruiting and hiring process has undergone a serious upheaval in the last few years. Social networking sites like LinkedIn and recruiting giants like Monster have completely changed the landscape for businesses looking to hire new employees. Luckily one of the other major changes is the surge in recruitment agencies, who have also come along to help out those overworked, overwhelmed employers.

But while the way we find and approach candidates has changed a lot, one element of the hiring process has remained unchanged since its inception. The humble interview has been a staple of hiring new employees all along, and though the technology may have changed to allow interviews to take place online or over the phone, the process is still the same. That’s because the idea of the interview is perfect – what makes interviews fail is not the format, it’s the people. So how do you conduct a great interview?

Figure Out Your Objective 

All too often we as recruiters work hard to get ideal candidates in front of hiring managers for your business, only for the interview to go badly and the candidate decide to go with another company. A big problem here can be that the hiring manager doesn’t really understand what they’re trying to get from the interview. So before you start scheduling interviews, take some time and determine why you want to have it. What information are you looking to gain from the interviewee? How will this information help you achieve your other goals and make your hiring decision? What skills are you looking for the candidate to show? Understanding exactly what you are trying to achieve with your interview will help you keep it structured and stop meandering discussions that could just be wasting both yours and the candidates’ time.

Spend Twice The Time On Research That You Do In The Interview

passiveThere are hundreds of hiring managers out there who will spend a couple of minutes before an interview going over the candidate’s CV. That’s it. That’s all of their preparation. I can’t think of a worse way of preparing to bring a new person into your business. Make sure when you are going through interviews that you really spend some time going over the candidate’s CV, researching them online and preparing what you want to say. Otherwise how will you ask intelligent questions and create compelling conversations? Ask yourself questions about the CV as if you were the candidate – what did I accomplish in this role? Why did I get promoted? Why did I leave this job? Do a quick survey of their social media presence (don’t feel guilty, I guarantee they are checking your business out in the same way) to discover their network, hobbies and interests. Knowing a lot about each of your candidates will help you to direct the interview and ask the right questions, giving you the information and answers you want.

Ask Follow Up Questions 

Once you have asked your (pre-planned) question, don’t just leave the answer and move on to the next one. Some of the most revealing answers in interviews actually come from follow up questions instead of the initial question. Listen to the initial answer the candidate gives, then simply follow up by asking how, why, when, or how a situation turned out. Who did what, what made that difficult, what was learnt. By asking these kinds of questions you are not only showing genuine interest in your candidate’s answers, but you are moving past the pre-prepared responses and into more genuine conversation, which is where you want to be. The true details and show-stopping information shows up in the detailed responses from candidates, so do everything you can to get to this stage through conversation and questions.

Above all though, remember to treat your interview like a conversation, not an interrogation. While you are interviewing the candidate for their suitability in the role, they are interviewing you for suitability as an employer. So make sure you take the time to engage in conversation and get to know each candidate in the process. Encourage them to ask questions and answer honestly (lying in this situation will always come back to bite you). Being engaged in the interview process instead of seeing it as a chore is the key to giving a successful interview, and is more likely to result in a great hire for you and your business. For more information and tips on interview techniques, get in touch with us today.

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