How to Conduct an Interview

When learning how to conduct an interview, many employers think they know the process, but there are poignant ways of getting the right information from an applicant. The best approach is one that is organized and consistent. A good interview system allows you to get the information you need to make an appropriate choice for the position you are looking to fill. Thus, structure and preparation are paramount.

You must get three important factors when interviewing:

  • Education
  • Previous work experience
  • Additional skills required for the position

Model Employee

The ideal employee must fulfill the job duties required up to your standards. First, you must identify your business needs and determine if that employee can perform them. Further, identify common attributes among top applicants and how they will fit into the company culture. Assess their capacity to adapt to new circumstances and assess if they perform well under pressure.

Finding the right person includes:

  • Knowing certain accomplishments
  • Certification
  • References
  • A good personality and interpersonal skills

Consequences of Bad Hires

A bad applicant can be a drain on your resources and finances. Consider the amount of investment a new applicant would cost:

  • Severance pay
  • Recruiting time
  • Training
  • Customer relation problems
  • Finding a replacement

In fact, experts determined that a bad hire can surpass the actual pay of the position itself, which is why you must ensure your interview process is impeccable and will only accumulate the best applicants for the job.

Considerations

Before hiring a person, think about the position you’re trying to fill. Think about the perfect candidate for that job and the previous employees who filled the position. Determine the knowledge, experience, and skills previous employees had that made them successful or unsuccessful. You can also ask the applicant (or previous supervisor) about their skills and how they performed in previous jobs.

Draft a list and ensure the people involved in the process know the criteria necessary to fulfill the job requirements. Once you pinpoint the right candidate make them an offer. If you haven't found the right candidate, keep looking until you until you find a person who meets or exceeds your expectations.

Communication

Before the interview, make sure the applicant knows about the position, who is going to interview him or her, and the interviewer knows the necessary requirements for the position. Make certain there are no uncertainties throughout the interview. Miscommunication can be detrimental to an interview, so it's important to be transparent with an interviewee. Also, keep talking to a minimum. Research suggests interviewers should only talk 30 percent during the interview process.

Interview Tactics

Provide a relaxing atmosphere for the applicant by establishing a welcoming waiting area. If possible, conduct the interview in a conference room.

Before interviewing, gather as much information about the candidate as necessary. Greet that person with a simple smile, steady handshake, and a casual expression. Begin with a light conversation so the applicant will feel comfortable enough to reveal detailed information about his or her experience. You may get a good story from the interviewee that shows who they are as individuals.

Instead of solely relying on the interviewee's information on their application and resume, conduct the interview in a conversational manner to know a candidates goals, failures, and desires. You can ask specific questions to get a detailed response, but you’ll get more interesting answers to questions that are open-ended. Stress what topics need to be discussed, and you can ask the interview regarding topics they’d like to bring up. Try to follow up with questions as often as possible after the applicant answers. Follow-up questions allow you to sift beyond the scripted responses.

After conducting the question portion of the interview, you can give them a tour of the office or work site. Ask casual questions such as if they had trouble finding the place. While giving them a tour, introduce them to other employees in the company.

Make the topics you wish to cover clear and ask if there are other subjects the interviewee would like to discuss. Explain the remaining process once the interview is finished.

Before the Interview

An applicant’s behavior and mannerisms can also reveal plenty about the person. For example, inquire to a receptionist about the applicant’s behavior such as what they did while waiting, how they treated staff members and if there were any encounters with other employees. A person who treats a receptionist or staff member poorly will more than likely do the same while on the job.

In addition, look over every piece of information before you interview a person. Look over their resume, cover letter, references, etc. Ask yourself important questions about an application or resume, such as work history gaps, general interests, how that person balances a work and personal life, or reasons he or she left a previous position.

Reasons to Follow Up

Follow up with each applicant after the process is over. Not following up is rude, and complaints may begin to arise from applicant pools. Let that persona know you appreciate him or her for wishing to work for your company. As a representative of the company, you must present the best face forward, even to applicants you do not intend to hire.

References

Look beyond the references given to you by candidates. You can look into that person’s network on social media and contact someone who knows the applicant about factors such as attitude and skill. Conducting additional research allows you to look deeper into a candidate’s work ethic and work history.

Post Interview Tactics

You can also take additional measures, such as taking the applicant out to lunch or dinner. You could also do something fun in the form of playing golf or going to a ball game with the applicant. The best applicants are ones that wish to spend additional time with you because this shows they wish to know more about the company. While spending time with the candidate, assess whether their enthusiasm shows in conversation or if they are very inquisitive about the job they interviewed for.

Structure the Meeting

Structure the meeting in a way that allows you to cover multiple topics. Also, an organized interview process shows respect to the person being interviewed. Structuring a meeting ensures you do not miss important questions and allows candidates give better answers.

Qualities of a Good Candidate

A person’s answers are not the only factor you should consider:

  • Manner of dress
  • Professional voice and tone
  • Can effectively describe the position and company mission
  • Demonstrates good manners
  • Eye contact

Interview Prep and Tips

Just as interviewees prepare for an interview, so should you. For instance, write down a list of questions to ask, and have that list with you during the process. However, try to memorize as many of the questions as possible. During the process, you should also maintain eye contact with the applicant. Assess an applicant’s skill level before comparing them to other applicants. For instance, look for a candidate who can type a minimum of 50 words each minute. You could also establish how many people that persona has managed in the past. Measure that person’s skill against a standard for yourself or the company to avoid hiring the wrong person. Do not base your selection on initial impressions.

If you need additional help on how to conduct an interview, you can post your legal need in the UpCounsel marketplace. UpCounsel helps employers know the parameters in terms of the interview process and what interview questions are appropriate to ask. UpCounsel’s legal team will help you find the only the best employees for your company so you can operate at top efficiency.