How to Conduct an Effective Interview

The call comes in from reception – your interviewee just arrived. Great! You’ve had this open position for 2 months, and this person’s experience looks perfect. You are hopeful! You grab your pen and notepad and head down to the interview room. You step in, make eye contact and shake hands. So far so good. You sit down and think, “Uh-oh where should I start, what should I cover?” You aren’t prepared, and start to sweat … This all could have been avoided with some careful preparation.

Here are 5 steps on how to conduct an effective interview:

  1. Be prepared! Walk into that interview armed with open-ended questions – questions that the person needs to answer with more than a yes/no answer. Make sure that your questions cover the areas of experience, work-related skills, interpersonal skills, and goals.
  2. Make sure to have everything scheduled in advance. Reserve an interview space and make sure that anyone that needs to see the candidate during the interview is scheduled to do so. Reconfirm the morning of the interview so the process goes smoothly.
  3. Make the person feel comfortable immediately. Be pleasant.  Make eye contact. Sit down and make a little small talk to set the person at ease. The more comfortable a candidate is, the more likely he is going to be open and honest with you.
  4. Remember that the interview is a two way street. Make sure you present yourself and the company in the proper light. Don’t talk negatively about others in the firm or the company itself. Honesty is important but bashing of any kind is not! In the end you may love the candidate but he has to want to work at the company as well.
  5. While you need to ask the questions and respond to any concerns of the candidate, remember you need to give him plenty of time to talk. Sometimes a manager may go on and on in an interview, and ultimately not give enough time to the candidate to really learn about his skills and experience.

Your preparation and demeanor during an interview is crucial to the success of the interview itself. By taking your time beforehand to prepare, and by providing a welcoming and positive atmosphere, your interview process should and will run very smoothly.


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