Get the Most out of your Candidate Interviews!

Conducting an interview can be just as hard as (if not harder than) being interviewed. We think it is equally as important to share interview tips with those conducting the interviews as it is with candidates, to ensure the best resource for the position is identified. Please take a few moments to review these tips:

• Prepare by conducting a “job analysis”: Interviewers should consult with at least one “Subject Matter Expert” to generate a specific list of the most important aspects of the job and what is required to perform it successfully. Not only will this make the interview more relevant to the job, but job candidates and interviewers will also view the interview more positively.
• Prepare questions in advance: An interview format in which all job candidates are asked the same specific questions further ensures that information obtained from candidates is relevant and comprehensive. This method also helps avoid irrelevant content. Asking uniform questions makes candidate responses more directly comparable. Also, be sure to ask open ended questions, requiring the candidate to give examples or elaborate on their skills.
• Maintain some flexibility: What if the interviewer asks a pre-developed question, but the candidate doesn’t provide enough information? Interviews who simply move on to the next question without leaving room for follow-up questions usually don’t collect enough information from candidates. Additionally, both job candidates and interviewers often perceive this rigid format negatively.
• Ensure the interview isn’t too short or too long: Since it is important that all candidates get the same opportunity to answer the same questions — without feeling rushed — it is generally best to limit the number of interview questions. A good rule of thumb is to ask no more than four to six questions in a 30-minute interview, and no more than eight to 12 questions in a one-hour interview.
• Focus on the interview portion first: Despite what some experts recommend, the evidence suggests that soliciting candidates to ask questions too soon reduces the interview’s reliability. Candidates should only be solicited to ask questions after the conclusion of the interview, allowing engagement on a more personal level.
• Include more than one interviewer: The use of multiple interviewers greatly increases the reliability of the process. Different interviewers in separate, subsequent interviews are more likely to agree on the right candidate.
• Interview evaluation:  Note-taking during interviews portrays interests in the candidate and makes a candidate feel respected. Since human memory is limited, it is easy for interviewers to confuse candidate’s responses to the same questions.  Be sure to complete an interview evaluation immediately following the interview, to ensure your feedback is fresh.