The right interviewing techniques help you get the most out of candidates so that you can make a more informed decision on which candidate is the right fit for your business. The process of interviewing goes beyond merely asking questions – it’s about connecting with candidates, extracting valuable information, and assessing their suitability for the role.
That way, you’re more likely to hire the right person the first time, saving on the thousands that businesses lose every year to hiring the wrong person. Moreover, mastering these techniques helps you improve your skillset as a recruiter.
You can read more about how to conduct an interview in our previous blog post.
Techniques for planning your interview
Planning your interview means that you don’t miss anything during the (often stressful) hiring process.
Planning for the interview puts hiring managers and HR teams at ease because everything they need to do is clearly laid out for them.
For the candidates it is reassuring because they can see that you have a well-organised hiring process, giving the impression that your business is just as organised.
Organise the process
When the interview process is clearly laid out, everyone knows what they need to do and when they need to do it. It keeps the process on track, helping it run as efficiently as possible.
If you use group interviews or panel interviews, explaining the process to every interviewer and candidate involved helps them prepare so that you can get the highest-quality answers.
Plan your questions
The types of interview questions you ask candidates will influence what you learn about their skills and experience. Planning your questions beforehand ensures you ask relevant questions that give you the information you need to judge someone’s suitability and fit for a role.
We have collected recommendations from 12 recruitment experts on whatquestions to ask at job interviewsthat help you get started with an upper hand.
Be aware of unconscious bias
Everyone has some level of unconscious bias. Being aware of it is one of the first steps to mitigating it.
Training interviewers to spot their own unconscious biases is one way they can become good interviewers. They are more likely to hire someone who’s the best fit for the business.
Interviewing techniques for reassuring candidates
Some candidates will naturally feel nervous about a job interview. Reassuring them helps reduce those nerves, meaning you’ll get a more accurate picture of who they are and what they might be like to work with.
Here are some job interview techniques that can reassure candidates:
Send the interview questions in advance
Only some people think well on the spot. That’s not a reflection of their intelligence, merely a reflection of how their brain works.
If you value diversity and inclusion, sending interview questions in advance is particularly important. Many neurodiverse candidates have skills from which your business can benefit, but they may struggle with a traditional interview structure.
Providing them with questions and a description of the interview process reassures them and gives them adequate time to prepare.
It also creates a level playing field for every candidate. Everyone gets preparation time so that they can share their most relevant problem-solving experiences with you.
Be on time
Being punctual is a simple way to create a positive candidate experience and a positive employer brand.
When interviewees are kept waiting, it can put them off, meaning that they may decline a job offer even if the interview went well.
If you’re worried about being late, consider setting a calendar reminder or two before the interview so that you have adequate time to prepare, and don’t set any other meetings close to the time of the interview.
Guide the conversation
When you guide the conversation, you reduce some of the mental load that’s put on the interviewee. This reduces some of their stress and helps them think more clearly.
A clear direction for the conversation will also put the interviewee at ease, particularly if you explain the interview format before you begin.
Keep your tone casual
Adapting your tone to make the interview feel like a casual conversation, not an interrogation, will go a long way toward making candidates feel more comfortable in your presence.
When a candidate feels relaxed, they’re more likely to open up and give you a better idea of their relevant experience and who they are as a person.
Choose somewhere quiet and private to interview
Whether you’re interviewing in person, online, or on the phone, your location should be quiet and private. This shows you respect the candidate. It also makes it easier for you to hear them clearly, and for them to hear you.
Interviews can put candidates on edge and make them feel self-conscious. A private location mitigates this. It also makes it easier for everyone involved to concentrate on the conversation.
Interviewing techniques for getting the most out of your candidates
Reassuring candidates is the first step to getting the most out of them. But you can take several more steps to ensure you get the best-quality answers and make the most informed decision.
Adapt your interview style
Common interview techniques don’t work for everyone. Some people may have exactly the right skills and experience that you need, but they may not be able to maintain eye contact or have the type of body language you’d expect.
Microsoft realised they were losing out on a huge talent pool, so they introduced their highly successful Neurodiversity Hiring Program. It uses an extended hiring process to assess the skills of neurodivergent candidates more accurately.
Embracing different interview techniques helps you attract a wider range of candidates. It also increases your company’s diversity and inclusion, which, over time, makes you more money, too.
Actively listen – but don’t be afraid of silence
Active listening requires focusing on the conversation. If you want to take notes, consider having someone else attend to do this for you.
If you find listening hard in some cases, try fiddling with a pen or a fidget toy. Grounding techniques help us pay attention in the moment to fully process what the other person says. Make sure you don’t distract the candidate with using this technique.
That being said, silence during an interview can be a positive thing. It can give interviewers and interviewees space to think and process.
Leave space for candidates’ questions
An effective interview is a two-sided process: you interview candidates, and candidates interview you. Therefore, it’s important that you leave space for their questions at the end of an interview. These questions give them crucial insights into what life is like working for your business and can even give you insights into their communication skills.
Thank the candidate for their questions. However, if they ask anything delicate or confidential, be clear and upfront about the fact you can’t share that information. Candidates will appreciate your honesty.
Your interviewing technique plays a big role in the quality of the answers you get from candidates.
Everything from sharing questions upfront, to putting candidates at ease, to offering them a drink, impacts how they answer questions and helps them form an opinion of your company.
Training your interviewing techniques helps you ensure that you are giving the candidates a great interview experience.
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