There are inevitably lots of resources available on the web to help interviewees best prepare to ace their interviews. But on the other end, it is also key to equip HR managers with effective interviewing techniques, and for them to ask the right questions that hire the best candidates for the job.
Firstly, it is to understand that the purpose of a job interview is the opportunity to connect the dots and determine whether a candidate is really qualified for the job opening. Beyond the questions you may ask as a HR manager, it is also important to note how you conduct the job interview. It’s not always an easy meeting to navigate, however by adopting the best practices of employer interview techniques, you can always make a significant difference towards your desired outcome.
If you’re engrossed in reading this article up till this point, I believe you might be a HR manager who’s preparing for an upcoming job interview – and we’re here to help make your job easier.
Here’s a quick look at some of our recommended interview guidelines to help you and your company identify the top talent for the role you’re offering.
1. Open the Interview Process Well for each Candidate
As the hiring manager representing your company, it will be good to ensure each candidate receives a good impression and experience of your company, such that even if the candidate doesn’t receive the job offer, they will still feel good about your company that treated them well.
Firstly, open the interview on a positive note by greeting interviewees on time, and make them feel welcome. You may do this with a smile, or to offer them something to drink, while maintaining eye contact as much as possible.
Next, introduce yourself and your fellow interviewers, while briefly describing your role and why you’re hiring. This will help to humanize your hiring process for candidates. After this, you may invite candidates to introduce themselves or walk you through their portfolio or work samples (if applicable).
2. Plan Your Interview Questions Well
A good interview doesn’t necessarily have to centre on having tough questions – the right interview techniques include planning the right questions in advance that is important.
In particular, it is recommended to include some behavioural questions to the mix. Behavioural interview questions refer to asking the potential candidate to describe what they did in a role, or to share their qualifications. These type of questions seek concrete examples of skills and experiences that relate directly to the position they are applying for, and assess their competence in the potential new job offering.
Here are some possible examples for you to consider:
- “Tell me how you solved a recent challenge”
- “Tell me about how you worked effectively under pressure”
- “How do you handle a challenge? Give an example.”
- “Have you ever made a mistake? How did you handle it?”
- “Give an example of how you set goals.”
- “Describe a decision you made that wasn’t popular, and explain how you handled implementing it.”
- “Give an example of how you worked on a team.”
- “What do you do if you disagree with someone at work?”
- “Share an example of how you were able to motivate employees or co-workers.”
3. Take Note of each Candidate’s Responses
It is highly recommended to practice note-taking – one of the useful interview techniques – to help you better review each candidate’s response at the end of all interviews and aid in your selection of the right hire. The key to good note-taking is when you focus on the candidate’s answers, instead of your own personal judgments. For example, you should note down “He told us he hasn’t dealt with difficult customers before” instead of “He’s inexperienced”.
Another useful recommendation is to rate candidate’s answers with a consistent scale. It will be helpful to prepare the same list of interview questions to ask all candidates, after which you will be able to properly rate them on the same scale in terms of their competence and suitability. Additionally, to reduce the halo effect, it is encouraged to use your notes to rate all candidates’ answers at the same time, after you have finished conducting all the interviews with the candidates; as opposed to rating candidates individually right after each interview. Therefore, attempt to rate every candidate on one question, before moving on to the next question, and so on.
4. Develop an Interview Framework
Establishing an interview structure is also one of the useful interview techniques you may adopt. Doing so will ensure that all ground is covered within the limited timeframe of the interview, minimizing chances of overlooking any critical piece of information, or becoming sidetracked by a candidate.
A typical structure will begin with an outline of the company and sharing of what the role involves. This is followed by posing a series of questions to the candidate, then asking the candidate if they have any questions of their own they’d like to ask.
It will be good to open the discussion by explaining to candidate(s) how the interview will progress. This keep everyone working on the same page, and eliminates any surprise that could throw an otherwise strong candidate off track.
5. Make Time To Review Each Resume
In spite of your likely hectic schedule as a HR manager, it is always worth making the extra effort to review each candidate’s resume before the interview.
This will help avoid the occurrence in which you ask questions that may already be answered in the resume, while making sure that any uncertainties you have about the candidate are addressed.
Another good tip is to take a moment to jot down some notes about the candidate at the conclusion of each interview. This is especially useful if you’re speaking with a large number of candidates, as it can be easy to confuse individual applicants once the round of interviews is completed.
6. Be Sure To Listen
Listening is an important aspect of good employer interview techniques, especially as it’s easy for you as a hiring manager to only focus on what you plan to say next and thereby miss a key comment by the candidate in the present.
Do note to put away any types of distractions that may come up during the interview, and do not be distracted by calls or thoughts about future meetings. This may damage your rapport with the interviewees.
Good and active listening calls for concentration. While the candidate is speaking, do also take note of the sort of language that is being used. Do the candidate’s responses sound overly rehearsed? Or are they truly reflective of them as an individual?
7. Read Their Body Language (Non-Verbal Cues)
The ability to read a candidate’s body language, or non-verbal cues, is another key aspect of good employer interview techniques. Even so, do bear in mind that a job interview can be a nerve wracking experience for the potential candidate, so an element of fidgeting, nervous laughter, or rapid speech could be quite natural.
During the interview, do take note to observe if the candidate carries themselves with poise? Do they give off the impression of being confident and capable? Is the candidate comfortable with making eye contact, or do they continually try to avoid your gaze?
Most importantly, does the potential candidate appear engaged and interested in the conversation? Or are they glancing at their watch (or worse, their phone) as if they’d rather be somewhere else?
On the other hand, it is also an important interview technique for hiring managers to be aware of their own body language. For example, if you lean slightly forward in a chair, it could demonstrate interest in what the potential candidate is saying. It would be helpful to try nodding or smiling occasionally to help put a nervous candidate at ease.
8. Keep The Conversation Focused On The Role
It may seem polite to enquire about a candidate’s hobbies or personal interests. However, there are good reasons why one of the recommended interview techniques or guidelines for employers is to stick strictly to questions related to the role.
It is important for you to be mindful of the risk that you’re hiring a particular candidate because you like them, as opposed to the reason that they have the best skills and experience for the job. If you notice the conversation starting to veer away from your planned discussion points, do rein it back in.
9. Be Clear About The Next Steps
At the end of the interview, it is important to properly close the session by detailing how you will follow up with each candidate. Do clearly share the date and means of communication (i.e. via Email or Phone) and thank the candidate for their time. Also, make a commitment to respond to each candidate by the allotted date. This is only professional courtesy that reflects well on both you and the organization.
At the end of the discussion it’s important to close the interview by explaining how you will follow up with each candidate. Make the date and means of communication (email or phone) quite clear and thank the candidate for their time. Then make a commitment to responding to each candidate by the allotted date. It’s a professional courtesy that reflects well on both you and the organization.
No one guaranteed that it would be easy to find the ideal candidate that is best suited to the role. We hope that this guide with recommended employer interview techniques has been useful for you as a hiring manager or HR manager. Do make use of this guide to assist you in better narrowing down the choice of suitable applicants, and also to leave candidates with the impression that your company is well run, and an ideal place they wish to be a part of. All the best!