6 Tips for Improving Your Candidate Interviewing Skills

If you do a quick search for articles on ‘interviewing skills’, you’ll find a myriad of them plastered all over the internet. A lot of the focus seems to be on the interviewee, completely ignoring the interviewer. An interview is a bipartisan affair and having good interviewing skills are crucial for the interviewer as much as they are for the candidates. Just as some job seekers may need to brush up on their interviewing skills, so do some hiring managers. Candidate interviewing is a skill in itself.

So, we’ve put together 6 tips to help you, the interviewer, really glean as much information out of job applicants and create a better experience for them that will benefit both you and them.

1.Prepare, prepare, prepare!

Make sure you know exactly what you’re looking for, so write down all the qualifications and skills that are required for this role to have a clear picture in your mind. Once you’ve got all the required skills, jot down some questions based on those. If they’re technical skills ask that, if it’s more competency-based put some of those together. Aside from that you should also know your company inside-out. This way you’ll be able to tell them all about it and you’ll also be ready to ask any questions they may have.

2. Review the candidate’s CV before the interview

While this could seem obvious, it needs noting. There is nothing worse than an interviewer confusing candidates and not knowing anything about their background. Just as you expect candidates to do their homework on your company, so should you know what their work experience looks like and formulate relevant questions based on that.

3. Put the candidate at ease

Some candidates will be more nervous than others. You should make the candidate more comfortable by simply smiling, introducing yourself and offering them a beverage of some sort. You can ask some basic questions such as how their commute in was or what they’ve done that day. These are simple pleasantries that will help calm a candidate’s nerves.

Before the interview make sure that you provide them with all the pre-interview details such as location, date, parking and whether there will be more people sitting in on the interview. No one wants to go to an interview and find out that instead of one person they’ll be interviewed by a bunch of people.

4. Don’t talk too much

While it’s easy to get carried away talking if it’s something your passionate about, let the candidate do most of it. You should be there to steer the conversation, but you should let them answer questions and showcase their skills. Don’t monopolise the conversation, you’re there to find out everything you can about the interviewee.

Hiring managers should talk about 20-30% off the time, giving you plenty of room to give them the information they need about the role and the organisation. Also, if you let the candidate do most of the talking it shows them that you are interested in them, their skills and what they can bring to the table.

5.Ask all candidates the same questions

Be consistent when interviewing multiple candidates and ask them all the same questions. It will be much easier to compare candidates when you’re going over your notes. When you’re asking questions encourage them to speak more by asking open questions rather than closed ones.

6.Don’t forget the follow-up

Just because the interview has finished doesn’t mean that all communication should cease either. Whether the candidate has got the job, was good enough to progress to the next stage, or simply wasn’t right for you let them know. It doesn’t matter how you do it (phone call or e-mail), just let them know about the outcome. You have to remember that these candidates have taken the time out of their week to prepare for the interview and come in to interview with you. There’s nothing worse than not knowing where you stand. Creating a good candidate experience is very important in this day and age (read more about it here), particularly when there’s a shortage of skilled professionals. Even if they don’t get a job with you they’re far more likely to sing your praises to other professionals in their network.

Have we missed any candidate interviewing tips? Let us know in the comments!

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