Conducting An Interview: Easy Guide on Best Practices For Recruiters

BY Karolina Majcher
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Have you heard the saying, “Treat every candidate like they’re already a valuable part of the team”? It’s true – every successful employee’s journey begins with hiring managers conducting an interview.

A well-refined hiring process can significantly impact attracting the right candidates. Every interaction matters whether they’re applying for the CEO position or starting from the ground level.

Conducting an Interview
(© insta_photos – stock.adobe.com)

Why Adjust Your Interviewing Practices?

Whether you’re a seasoned hiring manager or new to the game, there’s always room for improvement in your interviewing techniques – it’s an essential practice nowadays as a new generation enters the market, and their expectations are different – interviews aren’t just about sizing up candidates; they’re also about showcasing what your company has to offer. They’re looking for a vibe – a welcoming environment, exciting prospects, and a place where they can grow. 

From interview preparation to interview question creation and interview panel best practice, we’ll guide you through the process of candidate interview experience, which may directly influence your hiring success. 

Here are our easy-to-follow best practices to ensure you find the perfect candidate for the role: 

Prepare your Interview Process

Preparing for an interview in an organized way is key to streamlining the recruitment process. Plan your interviewing strategies applicable to all interviews, but make sure to adjust your interview plan to every candidate and role individually. 

Take your time to thoroughly review the candidate’s profile and the specific role they are applying for. Assess the job description’s relevance with the profile, note key connections, assess if the candidate would be a good culture fit for your company, and plan the strategic questions and areas to check during the interview 

Pick the right time, attendees, and peaceful place

Pick a time when your mind isn’t racing with a hundred thoughts, and you’re not rushed so you can dedicate proper attention to delving into the candidate’s story. Bring along only the essential hiring team directly involved in evaluating the candidate. Ensure the interview space is calm and free from distractions that could make the candidate uncomfortable – the presence of outsiders might add stress and a feeling of being judged.  

Give your full attention and create a friendly atmosphere

Start with welcoming a candidate kindly and introducing them to the interview setting, including yourself and the other attendees, if this is a panel interview. Offer a beverage and engage in some friendly, casual small talk before beginning the interview. 

If the candidate is visibly stressed, help them relax – share an anecdote, ask about their interests, and create a relaxed, conversational atmosphere. Then, briefly outline the agenda for the interview to give them an idea of what to expect – it will help reduce the stress. 

Build a Positive Relationship with the Company

Another useful tip is to treat every candidate as if they’re already a part of your team. Guide the conversation politely, don’t treat them as strangers, be welcoming and understanding, and try to genuinely get to know them as a person. 

Ask engaging questions and discuss relevant topics. Make it a two-way conversation, but remember to stay professional and avoid delving into the private sphere. 

What Kind of Questions to Ask in a Job Interview?

Prepare a good base of structured interview questions relevant to the specific role. Make sure to ask different types of questions that will give you a clear understanding of the candidate’s profile, skills, and abilities. What kind of questions will help you assess candidates fit with the role? Here’s a quick interview question guide: 

  • Technical Questions: focus on assessing the candidate’s proficiency in specific skills, experience, or knowledge relevant to the job. 
  • Behavioral interview questions: on the other hand, involve presenting a scenario or situation to the candidate and evaluating their response and problem-solving skills. 
  • Situational interview questions: combine elements of both technical and behavioral interviewing techniques. They present hypothetical situations or challenges the candidate may encounter in the role and require them to apply their technical knowledge and problem-solving skills to effectively address the scenario.  
  • Open-ended interview questions are potent for encouraging candidate engagement and gaining deeper insights into their skills, experiences, and personality. By asking questions that don’t have a simple yes or no answer, you invite the candidate to share more about themselves, their thought processes, and their unique perspectives. 
  • Ad-hoc interview questions follow what the interviewee said rather than sticking only to prepared ones. This makes the conversation more natural and helps us understand the candidate better by exploring their responses in more detail. 

What Questions to Avoid?

In the UAE, there are no laws explicitly forbidding employers from asking specific questions during interviews. However, you should refrain from asking personal questions and inquiring about topics such as culture, religion, orientation, or any other sensitive issues that could potentially be controversial. 

Sometimes, you have to ask tough questions about CV gaps or challenging situations. Do so cautiously, sticking to professional facts, and only partially inquire about personal life. Don’t extract all the information from the candidate. 

Would you use assistance in crafting accurate questions to evaluate candidates’ alignment with your expectations? Check out the article titled “10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them” to gain insights into useful questions for your interviews:

10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

10 Common Job Interview Questions and How to Answer Them

Take Notes and Listen Closely

Pay close attention to the candidate’s words and stay engaged. Look beyond just what the candidate says; observe their body language, behavior, grooming, and attire. This is a great chance to evaluate how well the candidate fits with the company. Follow up on their words and ask adequate questions to nurture your understatement of their point of view. 

Taking notes helps you remember key details about each candidate – their skills, answers, and overall vibe. Plus, it keeps you organized and ensures you don’t miss anything. With your notes, you can share insights with your team and make smart decisions. Therefore, organize your notes systematically. 

Introduce Your Company, its Goals and Values

Explain why your company is a great place to work and why you’re looking for cool people to create a pleasant and productive atmosphere together. Create conditions for a pleasant, comfortable, two-way conversation. Present the Position, Duties, and Daily Life: Tell the candidate about the company culture, daily office life, the team, and potential responsibilities. Ask how they feel in such an environment and determine if they fit the company culture. 

Don’t Elongate the Interview

When it comes to interview timing, keeping things concise is a key.

Long, drawn-out interviews not only test candidates’ patience but also unnecessarily delay the hiring process. Trends suggest that keeping interviews concise and focusing on best practices leads to better hiring outcomes. To evaluate a candidate quickly, focus on asking key questions such as their relevant experience, skills, and cultural fit. If few persons need to evaluate the candidate, organize a panel interview instead of multiple appointments.  

Conducting short interviews respects everyone’s time, maintains focus, keeps candidates engaged, and facilitates faster decision-making. Overall, it leads to a more efficient and productive recruitment process. 

Encourage Them to Ask Questions

Allow your applicants to ask questions about the company, the job, and your expectations. This will show their interest and help them understand if the role aligns with their career goals and values. It will also give you insight into their curiosity level, engagement, and communication skills. 

Conducting an Interview
(© Nikish Hiraman – stock.adobe.com)

Ask to Evaluate the Interview

Candidates’ feedback provides valuable insights into your hiring process- asking for it shows that you value their opinions and are committed to continuous improvement. Plus, it allows candidates to reflect on their performance and communication style, helping them grow professionally. 

Keep your candidates informed

Do you inform unsuccessful candidates about the state of their application? Well, you definitely should. These days, providing an interview follow-up is essential. If the candidate didn’t make it to the next round, let them know and express gratitude for their time spent applying to your company. 

Ghosting the candidates is not fair and disrespectful – at the end of the day, they spend time preparing and attending your hiring process and are waiting for your next move. Informing an unsuccessful candidate about not getting hired by your company requires a delicate balance of professionalism, empathy, and clarity.

How to inform the candidate about the unsuccessful application?

Politely thank the candidate for their time and communicate that after carefully considering and reviewing all applicants’ qualifications, you have chosen to proceed with another candidate whose skills and experience more closely align with the company’s current needs. You can also encourage candidates to pursue opportunities that align with their career goals, as their skills and experience are valuable.

Keep the door open for future opportunities and invite them to stay connected. This is a fair-play move and leaves a positive impression on your company. 

Ready to improve your interview techniques?

By following these practices, you can ensure your interviews are well-prepared, engaging, and respectful, ultimately leading to better hiring outcomes and a stronger company culture. Conducting effective interviews is crucial for attracting top talent and fostering a positive candidate experience.  

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Published: 20 February 2024

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