Let’s be honest – most interviewers have not undergone any training. It’s just one of those things that you get to do when your department grows. That means it’s easy to miss out on the best candidates – just because you don’t know how to get them to open up.
Here are seven things that will make a real difference to your interview results:
ONE: Do your homework.
Review the CV or application form of each candidate before you even go near the interview room. Make sure you have established where there are gaps or bits of information that you’d like to know more about.
TWO: Prepare your questions in advance.
There are three types of question:
1. Filling in the gaps (see #1)
2. Standard questions you ask everyone – e.g. ‘Why do you want to work for us?’ ‘What are your strengths?’ ‘Where do you see yourself in three years’ time?’
3. Scenario questions where you describe a situation and then ask the candidate what they would do in this situation.
Write the questions down so you don’t forget them – and so every candidate gets a fair interview.
THREE: Be approachable.
Some interviewers like to keep candidates on the back foot, but it really doesn’t achieve much. Be friendly when they arrive, shake hands – SMILE – invite them to take a seat and indulge in some smalltalk to put them at ease. You’ll get far more from each candidate if you establish a good relationship at the beginning.
FOUR: Take notes.
It doesn’t matter how good your memory is, you’re bound to forget something without noting things down, especially if you have several people to interview; it’s easy to people mixed up. Reassure the candidate you want to make sure you don’t forget anything important and they’ll relax.
FIVE: Let the candidate talk.
Ask open questions and then shut up. Allow them time to think, if you get a long silence ask if they need the question clarifying – but don’t pressure them or get anxious. Some people just need thinking time – and nerves are a great brain-scrambler! When they do start to talk don’t be afraid to ask for more details if you think they’re keeping it brief and there’s something that you’d like to explore further.
SIX: Stay focused.
When you’re interviewing several people it’s easy to get tired and lose focus. You owe it to the candidates – and your organisation to stay sharp. If necessary schedule interviews so you have gaps between them to stretch your legs, get a coffee, get some fresh air and, of course, review your notes for the next candidate.
SEVEN: Tell them what will happen next.
Don’t be one of those interviewers who says ‘Thank you – we’ll let you know.’ Tell each candidate what will happen next, how long they can expect to wait before a decision is made, whether there’s a second interview or tests of any kind for them to complete and any other information that will let them leave feeling comfortable and informed. Your approach and professionalism will give them an idea what it might be like working for your organisation – remember, an interview is a two-way street – if they don’t feel comfortable they may refuse a job offer.
You can reduce the number of interviews you have to do for IT staff – we pre-interview and test all our candidates so you only get a well-matched shortlist to interview. Call us on 020 3762 2020 to find out more.