Learning how to conduct an effective interview can be challenging especially if it doesn't fall within your job's normal day-to-day responsibilities.

At prosperIS Recruitment, we've put together ten tips to help you improve your interviewing skills and use the interview process effectively. 

Craft interview questions in advance

A large part of your interview preparation is deciding what questions to ask candidates. Of course, you can find many interview questions online, However, here are some tips to help you assess candidates effectively:

    -    Focus on behavioural and situational questions. Ask open-ended questions to give the candidate a chance to shine.
    -    Find alternatives to cliched questions to avoid scripted responses.
    -    Tie interview questions to your job requirements. Craft a few questions to assess each skill you're looking for.
    -    Keep a structure to your questions. The best interviews flow like a natural conversation but try to ask the same questions in a specific order.

Practice your 'sales pitch'

A job interview is a two-way process; while you assess a candidate's suitability for a role, candidates are trying to determine whether they want to work for you. If they're not convinced, they might end up rejecting your job offer. Before the interview prepare a checklist to 'sell' your company and the position you're hiring for. You could include:

    -    How your company tries to fulfil its mission.
    -    What your company does to keep employees happy and motivated.
    -    Any plans that have been announced to explain of improve your company.
    -    What challenges someone who works in the role may face and how your company supports its employees.
    -    How the position fits into your organisational structure and contributes to your company's success.

Listen to what candidates indicate they look for in a job and then use this to personalise your pitch. Think about what could motivate the type of person you are seeking to hire. Not every candidate is motivated by the same thing: Developers and Designers might be motivated by training and learning new skills whilst Commission, Money and Status might motivate salespeople. 

Learn to disregard irrelevant information

Ask yourself whether certain characteristics affect a candidate's job performance. For example, how candidates may dress may matter for sales roles but this might not be so much of an issue for Designers. 

Slow down your immediate decision-making 

Many studies have shown that interviewers often decide about a candidate at a very early stage during an interview. Take your time and consult your notes afterwards to form an opinion on a candidate.

Focus on job-related characteristics 

If you want to assess technical skills, use assignments or ask candidates to solve problems on a whiteboard.

Seek examples

Seeking social proof is a great interview tactic - going through previous work examples, projects or sales results is a fantastic indication of potential suitability. 

Resist hiring in your image

 Inexperienced interviewers often end up hiring candidates similar to them. Hiring managers who hire in their image miss out on the best candidates, build homogenous teams, lose diversity's advantage and sometimes fail to fill team gaps. 

Seek advice

Hiring doesn't have to be a lonesome road. prosperIS is happy to provide advice on...

    -    developing your employer interviewing checklist
    -    building rapport with candidates 
    -    reviewing your interview questions 
    -    giving feedback to candidates 
    -    conducting mock interviews to improve your interviewing skills 

Keep it legal

It's very unlikely but if you ask inappropriate questions you may leave your company open to a discrimination claim, even if you don't base your hiring decisions on the candidate's answers. Good advice is to keep your questions reasonable, relevant to the role, and professional. Topics to try and avoid include sexual orientation, marital/family status, age, race/religion, disability, or sickness record. 

If you feel you have inadvertently asked questions around these areas (or the candidate has included some of this information in their answers) it is good practice to tell the candidate that you will not be basing your hiring decision on this information and to document this in your HR files. 

Provide feedback

Of course, we are happy to help with this but it is only right that you provide detailed feedback to the candidate. It is likely the candidate has taken time out of their workday so it is good practice to provide detailed feedback on your assessment of them - even if they aren't offered the role.

To summarise, improving your interview skills takes time and practice but the payoff is well worth it. Effective interviews bring you one step closer to hiring the right people to reinforce your team and help your organisation 'stand out' in a candidate-driven jobs market. 

Please feel free to get in contact if you have any questions or need any further information. 

Get our Client guide to running effective interviews here ► 

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