How to Effectively Interview Someone for a Job
Sean Higgins
how to effectively interview someone for a job

Finding and then hiring the right person for a job is a challenge. Interviews have long been the standard tool to accomplish these goals; they provide you with valuable insight on your candidates, test their skills, and help you to determine whether they would be the right fit for the role.  

However, the interviewing process can be difficult to master. Candidates can be nervous, ill-prepared, or fumbling, you can accidentally come across as intimidating or unimpressed, all of which can lead the interview down an uncomfortable path. 

Here are some of the best tips on how to effectively interview someone for a job so that you can make the most out of these opportunities. 

Before the interview

1. Prepare a list of job qualifications and duties

This will form the backbone of the information needed for both you and the candidate. If you don’t already have the information, the role’s manager/supervisor will be able to give it to you. 

2. Make a list of questions to ask

You will need to have a list of questions to ask the candidate to get a better idea of their qualifications. You can also gain invaluable insight this way on how well they’ll fit into your company’s culture. 

3. Review resumes

Every candidate will be different, so take note of what you’d like them to elaborate on. You can also look them up on social media to get a better idea of who they are and what they’re like. 

4. Think about what they may ask you 

This includes benefits, salaries, company culture, expectations, specifics about the role, and more. 

5. Make sure you actually have the answer

It’s extremely unprofessional to not have answers for any candidate questions that are reasonably foreseeable. Try and be thorough when collecting information to give to the candidate, including your company’s goals and culture. 

During the interview

1. Take notes

Be sure to note down each candidate’s answers. This can help you to remember what was said and what was unique about each candidate, serving as a reference for when you begin the process of elimination and making a decision. 

2. Be specific

Many candidates exaggerate previous job roles, contributions, and responsibilities. Ask questions that will specifically pull information about these three things so that you can more accurately gauge what exactly their experience and performance is like. 

Ask for numbers and dates such as sales numbers and periods of low sales. Bring them up again later and see if the values change. If they do, it’s likely to be a lie. 

3. Be clear about salaries, PTO, and other similar details

Make sure that you and the candidate are in agreement about the job’s salary. They should also be aware of any benefits, paid time off policies, and other similar details. Ask them about their expectations as well. These should align with what your company can offer them in order for this to be a good match.

4. Ensure they are the right fit for this role

Get a feel of who they are and whether or not they are right for this role. Ask if they are comfortable with the specific of this job, for example if it’s only part-time and requires a morning shift, they won’t like the job unless they’re a morning person. Or perhaps the job requires heavy lifting and they’ve got a bad back. 

You can also check up on previous short-term roles to see why they left them. Those reasons can indicate whether or not they will be well-suited for this role. 

5. Be kind and caring

Your candidates should feel welcome and comfortable. Encourage them to be themselves. This isn’t just to ensure that the candidate feels comfortable enough to do the interview well, but it also reflects pleasantly on the company. Give them plenty of time and space to answer questions, focus on the conversation, and be courteous. 

6. Provide structure

While it’s good to have some portions of the interview be free flowing, ensure that there is at least some structure. This will help you both to stay focused and exchange all the necessary information. 

For example, you can consider starting by briefly describing the company as well as the role and job duties and then the candidate can ask whatever questions they like. 

7. Ask the same questions for all candidates

To make sure that you’re being fair and objective, try and ask each candidate the same questions. This consistency also makes it easier to compare candidates when you’re making a decision. 

8. Ask about their goals

It’s important that you know what the candidates’ career goals are and whether they can achieve them in this role and the path that this role will take them on. Ask about their professional interests, career goals, where they want to be in 5 or 10 years, and what about this role interests them. 

9. Be a good listener

It isn’t enough to simply encourage questions, you also have to be a good listener. Stay engaged, ask questions to clarify, and actively listen. This will give them the space they need to perform well and give you the information you need. 

Pay attention to their nonverbal cues as well, which can indicate honesty and interest. 

10. Talk about next steps

Make sure that your candidate knows what the next steps in the interview process are so that they know what to expect. They should know when they can expect to hear back, what comes next, and what your timeline for filling in the position is. 

A little thought and preparation makes a world of difference

Interviews can be a difficult process for you as well as the candidates, but it doesn’t have to be. A little bit of thought, preparation, and kindness will go a long way in making the experience a comfortable and productive one for all involved. 

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