Bad hiring choices can be more than just an inconvenience – they can also cost your company a lot of money and time. Not only is it important you ask the right questions, (that’s a whole separate topic) as a recruiter it’s also important you get your interviewing technique right. This will make the interviewing process more effective and will assist in positively representing your business.
As interviewing is essentially an information gathering process, the way you interview will help to get the best sense of a person, and if done correctly can be a strong indicator for how the candidate will perform on the job.
Here’s our top 7 interviewing techniques to help get the best out of the candidates you are meeting with.
1. Build a Rapport – It’s important to be welcoming, friendly and do whatever you can to make candidates feel at ease when they arrive. Whether it’s offering a glass of water or just small talk before the interview begins, if there is any way you can help candidates relax it should be done. This will take some stress out of the process and encourage the best from each applicant.
2. Take Notes – As well as recording what the candidate answered to the question, it’s also a good idea to record other details such as did the candidate turn up on time, answer hesitantly and anything else that is noteworthy. This includes any red flags or things that impressed you. It’s also a good idea to use a scorecard or scale to grade each candidate against job related criteria so you can objectively compare the candidates you interview.
3. Completely Understand the Role – As obvious as it may seem, sometimes people in smaller businesses wear many hats, and sometimes don’t fully understand the role they are interviewing for. If you don’t completely understand the duties, how can you determine whether the person will be capable to succeed in the position?
4. Have planned questions – Just because a candidate comes across as outgoing, personable and easy to talk to and seems to know what they are talking about, does not mean you should abandon your planned questions half way through the process for a more informal style interview. It’s important to conduct each interview the same way with the same set of planned questions to assess each applicant objectively.
5. Ask probing questions – Seek more detail if necessary. Don’t ask simple yes or no questions. Stay away from questions that could be construed as discriminatory such as ‘Do you have kids?’ Even if it was only meant just to build rapport, asking any personal questions not related directly to the position should be avoided.
6. Always be respectful – Even if you’ve made up your mind that this candidate is not suitable, it’s important to remain respectful throughout the process by maintaining positive body language. Good listening skills are one of the most important techniques of an interviewer and should be the cornerstone of all interviews even if the answer is already a no.
7. Ask follow up questions or clarify – Sometimes a candidate won’t answer a question completely or in the way you were looking for. This is often not because they don’t have the knowledge required, but that there can be many different ways to answer a question or they may have misunderstood what information you were looking for. Seek more information or clarification and don’t automatically write someone of if they first don’t give the answer you were expecting.
These are just a few of the many interviewing techniques that can be used to help conduct successful interviews that will help gather the right information from candidates and prevent a bad hiring decision.
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Claire Harrison is the Founder and Managing Director of Harrisons, a flourishing HR consulting business that sprouted in 2009 from Claire’s passionate belief that inspiring leaders and superstar employees are the key success factor to any business. With over 20 years’ experience, Claire has worked as a HR Director of multi-national organisations, as a Non-Executive Board Director, and a small business owner. Claire’s corporate career includes working with companies such as BHP, Westpac, Fonterra and Mayne Nickless.