Top 10 Must-Do and Must-Avoid Interview Techniques

Any errors in judgment or mistakes could compromise the decision-making process during the interview. The interviewer should be as prepared as the candidate before going in for the interview. After all, it is about hiring the best candidate for the job, and an underprepared interviewer can risk that.

Interviews are the toughest part of the recruitment process for both recruiters and candidates. It is not easy for employers to devise effective interview techniques that will help them hire the best candidates. Any errors in judgment or mistakes could compromise the decision-making process during the interview. Plus, the interviewer should be as prepared as the candidate before going in for the interview. After all, it is about hiring the best candidate for the job, and an underprepared interviewer can risk that.

So, let us look at the best interview techniques that interviewers should follow to make interviews more effective.

  1. Invest time and energy in planning interview questions and strategy

A good interview does not need to centre around tough questions. Though they may be important to check the knowledge and skills of the candidates, it is more important to plan your questions in a structural manner before firing them on to the candidates.

Make sure that you add behavioural questions, which will help you better identify the soft skills of the candidates. You can ask questions such as, “Tell us about a recent problem or challenge and how you solved it”. Answers to such questions will give an insight into the problem-solving, stress management and leadership skills of the candidate. It will also help to understand his/her team spirit and attitude. Probe them further on challenging situations to know more about their skills.

  1. Develop a proper structure

One of the most crucial aspects of honing interview skills and techniques is to have a proper interview structure. By structuring it, you make sure that all aspects of the interview get covered within a limited time frame. Also, a structure will add value and you can provide a good candidate experience. Plus, it will allow you to get the most out of a candidate, which will help you make the right hiring decisions.

A standard interview method or structure should begin with an introduction of the interviewer and the company, followed by a brief outline of the vacant job and why they need to fill this position. This information will help the candidate know who would be taking the interview and what is expected from them. It will prepare them to give appropriate answers and improve their chances of getting selected.

When conducting the interview, explain to them how it would progress after the introduction so that both parties are on the same page. Once that is done, begin your series of questions and allow the candidates ample time to answer them. Make the interview more conversational but make sure it does not go off track.

While closing the interview, ask candidates to ask questions, if any. And, make sure you answer their questions in the best way possible; be honest and direct with your answers. Candidates want accurate information so do not go beating around the bush.

  1. Thoroughly review every resumé

Make an effort to thoroughly review the resumé of the candidate before the interview. Reviewing it will help you understand the candidate’s skills and qualifications. This can help you frame appropriate questions that are right for that particular candidate.

Also, reading the resumé will help you build a better rapport with the candidate and allow you to ask informed questions to him/her.

If you do not review the resumé, you won’t know anything about the candidate, making you come across as uninformed and unprofessional. This may create a negative impression on the candidates’ mind about the interview process and the company as a whole, which would result in poor candidate experience.

Make it a point to write down notes during or after interviewing the candidate. It helps especially when you are interviewing multiple candidates in one day. Your notes will work as a reference for making the right hiring decision.

  1. Listen ardently

Listening is an important skill and every interviewer should possess it. An interview is not just about evaluating the candidates. It is also about listening to the response provided by the candidates and reading in between the lines about things they are not directly saying.

In this scenario, listening is the activity of focusing on the candidate’s response so as not to miss out on important points. These important bits of information will help you gauge the candidate conclusively.

Attentive listening needs concentration. Also, consider the language used to answer your questions and the tone in which they respond. These will help you assess the authenticity of the answers and the confidence of the candidate.

  1. Focus on non-verbal cues

To be able to read the body language of the candidate is a valuable interview technique that every interviewer should possess. Search for non-verbal cues that indicate whether the candidate is the best fit for the job or not.

Evaluate how the candidates carry themselves during the interview; do they appear unprofessional or carry themselves with elegance and poise? Does the body language display confidence and capability in the individual or not? How do they sit on the chair? Do they sit straight or are their backs hunched? Does the candidate make eye contact while giving a response or looks away continually as if distracted and uninterested?

More importantly, is the candidate interested and engaged in your conversation or looks at their phone or wristwatch continuously, as if they want to be elsewhere or leave early?

Moreover, the interviewer should first be aware of their body language. More often, candidates simply respond to the body language of the interviewer. When seated, leaning a little forward towards the candidate would display your interest in the candidate’s response. Nod and smile occasionally to their responses; it keeps the candidate at ease while giving the interview.

  1. Focused conversation

It is the job of the interviewer to keep the interview on track so that the core objectives can be achieved. It is nice to occasionally ask a candidate about their interest and hobbies, and indulge in light conversion. But it is not okay to steer away from the topic as it is a sign of an unstructured interview. It is the job of the interviewer to stick to the interview guidelines and focus the questions mainly on the job role they are hiring for.

If the conversation is drifting away from the core objective, make sure that it is steered back on track. A focused interview can help you assess the candidate in a better way and make better hiring decisions. A cluttered conversation will only lead to an inconclusive interview.

  1. Confirm what is next on the agenda

While closing the interview make sure you explain the candidate about the follow-up processes and how they will be informed about the result of the interview, and what the next steps are if they happen to clear it. Explain the means and date of communication clearly to the candidate. Then, commit to yourself that you will respond to every candidate by the given date. This is the best way to maintain professional courtesy and provide a great candidate experience.

Things to avoid in an interview

There are a few things that an interviewer must avoid in order to conduct an interview more effectively. Avoid doing these before, during or after the interview.

  1. Being under-prepared

It is not just the candidate who must prepare well for the interview, but the interviewer also must be well-prepared. An unprepared interviewer can come across as unprofessional and disinterested, which is not a healthy sign for a company.

To be prepared means to know and understand the best interview guidelines, review the candidates’ resumé thoroughly, and note down the key questions to ask the candidate during the interview.

  1. Confirmation bias

When an individual formulates a particular hypothesis or idea in the mind, they will search for ways and means to validate the thought. This is allied confirmation bias. Interviewers should consciously check their minds for this kind of thought process before and while taking the interview.

For instance, if the interviewer already decides that the candidate has stellar performance and is the perfect fit for the role by merely reviewing the resumé, he/she would have made a bias or confirmation in their mind even before the interview starts. When they enter the interview with this mindset, their mind will search for ways to confirm this thought process.

Thus, he/she will then indulge in selective listening, capturing only the details that confirm their hypothesis without capturing what is actually on display. This will make the individual blind towards any negative attributes that contradict his/her preconceived notions, which could lead to bad decision-making.

  1. Rushing into conclusions

Most interviewers say that they need just 5 minutes to identify whether the candidate is the best fit for the role or not. Whereas, as per some studies, in a short span of a few minutes, an individual can probably only tell whether the person is polite, well-dressed and confident. And none of these aspects can help determine the course of the interview.

So, do not rush into conclusions during the interview. Remember that an interview is not a race, and take your time while making a decision. Takedown notes during the interview. They could be your reference points to rate the candidate after the interview. Analyse and compare various factors before arriving at any conclusion.

Rushing through with your decisions may create a bias in your mind, which can cloud your judgement and affect your decision-making skills, and you may miss out on the best candidates in your quest to make quick hiring decisions.

Finding the right candidate perfect for the job can be challenging. These recommended interview techniques will allow you to funnel down your choices and find the most suitable candidate for the job. These tips and techniques will also help to create a positive candidate experience overall, leaving candidates with a good impression of the company, which would boost employer brand identity.

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One of the prime contributors for this blog, Expertise in Staffing and Recruitment, Content Strategist by Profession. A Music Lover & Traveller by Choice.

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