If you want to find the best person for the job, then it is essential that your interviews are as thorough and well thought out as possible. Conducting an interview isn’t as simple as you may think and there are a number of things that you must consider before meeting any candidates, as well as before you make any final hiring decisions.

If you enter the interview without a clear idea of the type of individual you are looking for, then your judgment may become blurred and it’s possible that you will become side tracked by qualities or experience that doesn’t necessarily align with the role you are hiring for, or overlook a shortage of the required skills. The same goes for going into it without an idea of how you will sell the company to them, as it’s important to remember that you will also be under scrutiny.

Here are the 10 simple steps of conducting a job interview to ensure that all the necessary elements are taken into account to hire the right person.

1) Build a picture of exactly what you need

If you don’t have a proper idea of the type of person that you need in terms of skills, experience and personality, then how are you supposed to determine a candidate’s suitability? Before the interview make a checklist of all the requirements for the role and then tailor your questions and means of assessing the individual so that you can evaluate all of the factors.

2) Provide the candidate with all the relevant information

If you want to see the best that a candidate can offer, then it is important that you allow them to fully prepare. This means that you must let them know exactly what to expect, such as how and where the interview is going to be held, how long the interview will be and who will be present at the interview. The candidate will appreciate being kept in the loop, as being caught off guard in an interview can often trigger nerves and hinder performance.

3) Prepare for the interview

Taking into account the checklist that you have put together of all the qualities you are looking for, prepare a list of questions that will help to assess the candidate’s suitability in relation to these factors. Though some of the questions will be more generic or related to the specific role, try to tailor some questions towards the individual and their background. Do your homework beforehand, by thoroughly reading the candidate’s CV to familiarise yourself with their work history. You can also learn a little more about a candidate by checking them out on social media, so that you can ask them about some of their interests or hobbies.

4) Introduction

Begin your interview with an informal chat to break the ice, for example you could ask them how their journey was and what they have planned for the day, to help them warm to you and relax. You can also use this time to introduce them to the relevant people and provide them with a brief breakdown of the structure of the interview, how long it will last etc.

5) Sell the job and company

The first few minutes of the interview should then be spent providing the candidate with information about the company, what you do, the reasons for hiring and what the role involves. It is just as important for you to sell the opportunity to the candidate as vice versa, as if they do not get a good vibe from you they may look elsewhere.

6) Ask questions

The interview should flow as more of a conversation than an interrogation, so make sure that you are listening attentively and asking follow up questions to the candidate’s responses. Allow them to finish talking before you jump in with another question, as by taking it slowly the candidate is more likely to elaborate on their response, or share more experiences. Taking it slowly will also provide you with the time to think of intelligent questions to ask them that are directly related to them as an individual, rather than those that are clearly pre-planned.

7) Candidate questions

An interview should be a two-way exchange, so it’s important that you encourage the candidate to ask any questions they may have about the job and the company. A good candidate will take this opportunity to ask intelligent questions about the culture, expectations for the role, ongoing projects, etc. This is when they can prove they’ve done their homework on the company and want to know where they can fit in.

8) Describe the next steps

Let the candidate know what to expect next, for example if you are interviewing more people, if there will be a second round of interviews and when they should expect to hear back from you. If you tell them you’ll let them know in the next few days then stick to your word. There’s nothing worse than being left hanging after a job interview.

9) Close the interview

Make sure that you have both covered everything that you wanted to discuss before closing the interview. Once you are happy that you’ve asked everything you want to know, thank the candidate for their time and let them know that you will be in touch. Ending the interview on a slightly informal and friendly note will leave a good lasting impression with them.

10) Reflect on the interview

While the interview is still fresh in your mind, take some time to go over your notes and reflect on some of the things they had to say and jot down any other important information that will contribute to your decision. Although you may still be waiting to interview other people, you can make a judgement about whether you feel they could be suitable for the role. If there was more than one of you holding the interview, then you can use this time to share your thoughts on the interview and come to some sort of conclusion.

[Image Credit: Shutterstock]

About Sophie Deering

You can follow Sophie at @SophieDeering.

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