Recruitment | 5 top tips for more effective interviewing
Written by Danielle Fargnoli on 31 October 2023
The WorkNest recruitment team receives all sorts of queries regarding the hiring process. However, a significant portion of these queries relate to interview techniques and styles.
What’s the optimal approach for conducting interviews? How do we ensure a fair and impartial process? And how do we extract the information we need from candidates so that we can make well-informed hiring decisions?
Mastering the art of effective interviewing is a fundamental skill for any manager. It enables you to get to know a candidate, assess their suitability against the specific requirements of the role, and evaluate their compatibility with your company culture. As well as ensuring you appoint the right person, a rigorous interview process serves to pre-empt potential future issues and sets the foundation for a positive working relationship.
Achieving interview success requires meticulous preparation, time investment, and a solid grasp of best practices and interviewing techniques is essential. With this in mind, here are five top tips for effective interviewing.
1. Preparation is key
Employers often make the mistake of going into the interview process ill-prepared. Before conducting interviews, make sure to familiarise yourself with the role and its specific requirements well in advance.
Take time to understand the key responsibilities, identify the relevant experiences that would benefit the role, and outline the essential skills the ideal candidate should possess, then use this to formulate your interview questions.
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2. Take steps to eliminate bias
Objectivity and impartiality are key to a fair interview process. To uphold these principles, it’s essential that all interviewers undergo training in interview techniques and unconscious bias awareness.
We all have unconscious biases which can influence our decision-making. It is important to recognise your own biases so that you can avoid making unfair judgments about candidates. One way to do this is through ‘name-blind recruitment’.
Name blind recruitment, also known as blind recruitment or anonymised recruitment, involves removing personally identifiable information, such as names, from job applications and CVs. This practice ensures that candidates are evaluated solely based on their qualifications, skills, and experience, rather than on factors like their name, gender, or ethnicity.
Strategies such as this aim to create a more equitable and bias-free hiring process, ultimately promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
3. Refine your questioning style
When formulating interview questions:
- Avoid convoluted, lengthy questions. Instead, opt for open-ended questions that encourage candidates to elaborate on their skills, problem-solving abilities, experience, and motivations.
- Present candidates with real or hypothetical challenges related to the role and observe their problem-solving abilities. This can provide valuable insights into how they approach complex issues.
- Enquire about a candidate’s long-term career aspirations and how they envision their future within your organisation. Understanding their goals can help to determine if there’s a match with your company’s growth opportunities.
- Pay attention to consistency in a candidate’s responses and probe further if something doesn’t add up or if you need more details. Follow-up questions can help you gain deeper insights and clarify any uncertainties.
- Don’t forget to ask questions that evaluate cultural fit. Enquire about the candidate’s values, work preferences, and aspirations to determine whether their personal and professional values align with the organisation’s mission and values.
- Gauge communication skills. Effective communication is a fundamental requirement in many roles. As such, it’s important to not only consider the content of the candidate’s responses but also how they articulate their thoughts. Asking candidates to explain complex concepts or scenarios in simple terms is another way to do this.
Remember that a well-rounded set of interview questions should cover technical skills, soft skills, behavioural competencies, and cultural fit, depending on the role and your company’s priorities. Tailoring your questions to the specific job requirements will help you make more informed hiring decisions.
4. Practice effective listening
Successful interviewing isn’t solely about asking questions; it’s about active and empathetic listening. Pay close attention to both verbal and non-verbal communication, as they often convey as much, if not more, than the words spoken. Additionally, maintain eye contact and use non-verbal cues like nodding to show that you’re not just hearing but genuinely listening and engaged in the conversation.
Remember, interviews are not one-sided interrogations; they are dynamic dialogues. Take the opportunity to probe deeper when a candidate mentions something intriguing or when you wish to get a better understanding of their response. Asking follow-up questions or seeking clarification demonstrates your commitment to understanding the candidate’s perspective.
5. Be open and transparent
Allow candidates ample time to ask their own questions so that they can gain a deeper insight into the role and your team. Provide candid and detailed responses so that they can assess whether the opportunity is the right fit for them.
Once both parties have concluded their questioning, establish clear timelines for the subsequent stages of the hiring process. Make sure candidates know when they can expect to receive feedback or hear back from you. This transparent communication not only aids in decision-making but also enhances the overall candidate experience by demonstrating your organisation’s professionalism and commitment to respectful and open dialogue.
Specialist, set-cost recruitment support
Effective interviewing is a skill that takes time and practice to develop. If you would benefit from processional guidance, WorkNest can offer specialist support through our collaborative, fixed-fee recruitment service.
Our experts can work with you to provide valuable feedback on your interview style, questions and process, and can even attend interviews to help ensure they are fair and effective.
For more information, contact our team on 0345 226 8393 or request your free consultation using the button below.