Julie Tucker
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Interviewing techniques to secure the perfect candidate

While you’ve probably conducted plenty of interviews, you need to really get to know the applicants during the hiring process, so there’s always room to hone your interviewing techniques.

There are several ways you can determine whether someone has a genuine desire to work for your company, rather than just wanting any new job.

An interview should also provide the candidates with an opportunity to find out more about your company. It’s their chance to decide whether you’re the right fit for them too.

While it might be you conducting the interview, essentially, they’re sussing you out as well!

Even when it turns out the candidate isn’t the right person for the job, always leave them with a positive impression of your company because if they have a positive or negative time at the interview, they will be likely to share this experience on social media, which can influence whether your company will attract top talent for future job openings.

More than two-thirds of candidates (68%) believe their experience at a job interview reflects how the company treats its employees, so if they have a bad experience, they are likely to tell other people about it.

In addition, 55% of job seekers say they find social and professional networks are their most useful resource for job searching. This is why it’s important to leave unsuccessful candidates with a good impression of your company after an interview.

Preparing for an interview

When you’re going to interview potential candidates, preparation is vital for both parties. Read each candidate’s CV thoroughly and make sure you know the points you’re going to follow up.

Also ensure you have a thorough knowledge of your own business and the potential employee’s role, so you can answer any questions they might ask you.

First and last impressions

As an interviewer, you need to make a good first impression, as this can influence how well the interview proceeds: a candidate’s performance will impact their likelihood of moving through the hiring process, so be friendly, while remaining professional.

Don’t let your desire to form a bond with the candidate lead to over-familiarity. While a smile, a greeting and a pleasant demeanour are important, don’t make the mistake of trying to be too chatty.

By creating a positive first impression, this opens the interview well and ensures both you and the interviewee can spend the rest of the time talking to decide whether they’re a good fit for the position. Putting the candidate at ease will help them to shine.

Impressions can be formed on both sides within the first 20 seconds of an interview. As first impressions stick, it’s vital you get off to a good start.

Interview techniques

Avoid a “checklist” approach if possible. While you may consider it’s a fairer approach, there’s no “one size fits all” solution and it might leave you knowing little or nothing about each interviewee’s personality and team fit. Of course, plan the key areas you need to run through and the certain criteria you’re looking for – but choosing the perfect candidate because they seem to fit with the tick boxes can be unrealistic.

Rather than a series of set questions and answers, it can be far better to let the conversation flow. If it takes you in an interesting direction, led by the candidate, it can be useful in finding out what makes them tick.

Good interviewers aim to humanise the conversation by providing a relaxed atmosphere, encouraging interviewees to ask questions and share experiences. Get your company culture across, ensuring the candidates understand the goals, values and ways of working.

Top 5 interview questions

According to surveys of interviewers, there are a number of popular and important questions that they will always ask:

1. Tell me about yourself

This is a good opening question, because it’s a chance to run through the most relevant points of the applicant’s CV. It encourages applicants to talk about what they have achieved and what they hope to achieve in future.

2. Why do you want to work here?

This question can show whether the candidate has done their research on the company. A candidate who has learned about your company’s culture and history will be able to sail through this question, as they will be able to demonstrate they have a genuine interest in working for you.

3. What motivates you?

This can help you find candidates who are enthusiastic and who will be engaged every day at work – you need to know if they will be motivated by the work this role involves. Look for people who can give specific examples from their own employment history on things that have inspired them at work, rather than a general answer.

4. Why are you leaving your current job?

This is a fair question, as it helps you as an employer to understand what the interviewee is looking for in a new role. A good candidate will give a positive reply, focusing on their career goals and ambitions. If the candidate speaks negatively of their current employer and wishes to leave because they are not enjoying their time there, this can be a red flag, as they may be just looking for any job to “escape”, rather than a specific role in your company.

5. Tell me how you overcame a challenging work situation

Behavioural questions are popular at interviews, as they enable you to assess the applicant’s critical thinking, problem-solving, communication and time management skills. Look for applicants who addressed the situation well by the actions they took and the results they achieved.

The interviewing environment

When you’re conducting interviews, you need a suitable meeting room, where you can enjoy privacy and let things flow smoothly.

Working in a flexible coworking space enables you to organise interviews at a time this is convenient. You can also book a private meeting room when required.


Image courtesy of © fizkes / Shutterstock.com

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