There's plenty of advice out there for people who are searching for jobs, with much of it revolving around the all-important interview, with endless articles detailing what to wear, how to act, how to answer certain questions, and what to ask the employer. But what if you're the person in charge of conducting the interview itself? Odds are that you've been through several interviews, but maybe you've never directed one yourself, or maybe you'd simply like for your next interview to go a bit more smoothly than your past efforts. Whatever the case might be, here are a few tips to help you pick an excellent candidate for your available position.
Before the Interview
One of the most obvious steps you can take toward conducting better interviews is doing your homework on the candidates by reviewing their resumes. Have you ever thought about doing research on the position itself, though? You need to know precisely what you're looking for in your candidate - an evaluation that can go far beyond the skills and experience on a piece of paper. It can be useful to speak with employees who hold the position to find out what makes someone successful in that particular capacity.
At the Interview
Virtually everyone is nervous when walking in for an interview, but talking to someone who is on edge can make it difficult to elicit accurate and thorough responses. You want your candidates to open up and be candid about their education and experience, so put them at ease with a warm, friendly greeting followed up by some small talk. By spending a few minutes chatting about traffic congestion, weather, a local sports team, or another innocuous topic, you can give the people you're interviewing a moment to get their bearings and establish a rapport with you.
When you delve into the questioning phase of the interview, start with fact-based questions that can establish job titles and duties performed in past positions. Not only will this be valuable information for you, but it will allow the candidates a few easy questions to get them warmed up for the tougher parts of the interview. Follow these with some open-ended queries about past experiences. Depending on the position, you might ask candidates to describe a major hurdle they had to overcome in their last place of work or to tell you about an occasion that put them in a decision-making position and how they handled the situation. Questions like these can put candidates on their toes, but they'll provide you with some personal experiences you can use to extrapolate how your candidates might react in future situations. Also, be sure to allow the job seekers time to ask their own questions about your company and the position in question.
After the Interview
Once you have interviewed all the candidates, you have to make a decision about who you'll choose to fill the position. How do you ensure that you're finding the best person for the job, not just someone who interviews well? Using your research about the position, you should be able to construct a scoring system to "grade" each of the candidates on their experience, education, and other objective factors. By keeping in mind the particular responsibilities of the position, you should be able to narrow the field considerably. If you're still having trouble reaching a decision, consider adding a writing sample or aptitude test to the interview process.