How to be a More Effective Interviewer

How to be a More Effective Interviewer

Hiring the right person for an open position is critical to the success of your team. Hiring the wrong person can crush employee morale and productivity. This puts a lot of pressure on the interviewing process. Whether you are the hiring manager or someone on the decision team, you need to be prepared. How can you be a more effective interviewer? Follow these tips to improve your interview skills so you can find the next star on your team.

How to be a More Effective Interviewer

Review the job description

Take the time to review the open position and think about the skills, experience, and personality of your ideal candidate. What are the “must-haves” and what are the “nice-to-haves.” It’s rare to find a candidate who has 100% of your requirements so which ones are the deal-breakers?

If you are part of the interviewing team, think about how this position interacts with you and others in your department. What attributes made the last person successful? What traits were they lacking?

Prepare your questions

Align your questions with the job description. To ensure you treat all candidates equally and eliminate bias, prepare a document with a list of key questions you plan to ask all of them. Choose five or six key skills or experiences you want to learn more about and craft the best question.

Interviews are typically time-bound, so it’s important to focus your questions on the most critical areas of the job and not get sidetracked with chitchat or unrelated stories. A popular style is behavioral interviewing. This requires the candidates to share situations where they demonstrated certain skills. The components are situation, behavior, and outcome.

Take notes

Print out your list of questions so you can take notes in writing or use your computer and create a separate document for each candidate. Inform the candidate you will be taking notes so they don’t think you are being rude and answering emails or doing other work during the meeting.

When I am face-to-face, I like to handwrite the notes. It gives both of us a break from eye contact and a chance to breathe. It’s also a way to convey my interest, especially when I know they are not a right fit but I don’t want to be disrespectful.

Know the law

Touch base with your HR department or revisit any training videos you have on legally hiring to make sure you understand what you can and cannot ask during the interview process. Revisit some of the important employment laws like the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, the Equal Pay Act, and Age Discrimination in Employment Act.

Make sure your notes relate to the questions and answers and the qualifications of the job. Keep all of your documentation from the interview. This will be helpful if the candidate comes back to challenge your hiring practices.

Use phone-screening

Another way you can be a more effective interviewer is to save time with phone-screening calls. These can be a quick and easy way to narrow down your list of candidates to save everyone’s time with longer-form, face-to-face meetings.

Phone interviews might only take 10-20 minutes each. Again, prepare your list of questions ahead of time, and be sure to include your “deal breakers.”

What are you looking for in your next job?

What made you apply for this position?

What did you think of our website?

Promote the company

Part of being an effective interviewer is weeding out unqualified applicants but perhaps, more importantly, you also need to convince the top candidate to choose your position. Continue recruiting them throughout the process.

You’ve seen the articles about labor shortages and skills gaps. The top candidates will likely have multiple offers. It’s important to give them many reasons to choose your company and your job.

I have a theory that how a company treats you during the recruitment process is indicative of how they treat employees. If your culture is like “The Devil Wears Prada” and filled with intimidation and fear, then your interview process needs to reflect that pressure to find the right candidate for the job. Hopefully, that’s not the case and your culture is more like that created by Leslie Knope from “Parks and Recreation” filled with waffles and appreciation scrapbooks!

Review training

If your organization works with a company like HSI, you may have an entire library full of videos that can help you be a better interviewer. If so, take the time to review relevant courses. We offer many topics that can be curated to improve your interviewing skills:

Additional Resources

Close Menu