The secret to conducting an effective interview and finding the best person for the job.

In today’s competitive job market, hiring the right candidate can make all the difference for the success of your team and organisation. However, the process of identifying the perfect fit amidst a sea of applicants can be daunting.

The key lies in mastering the art of conducting an effective job interview, and at The HR Consultants we have a lot of knowledge to share, as we’ve been doing it for a really long time!

If you’d like help with your recruitment, we specialise in taking the hassle out of hiring for managers and leaders just like you; our average time to hire is just 4 weeks and our fees are 15% of salary, so get in touch today for a no obligation chat. Can you afford to wait?

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In this article, we’ll uncover the secret to conducting interviews that not only reveal the candidate’s skills and qualifications but also their potential to thrive within your company culture.

1. Preparation is paramount:

Before the interview even begins, thorough preparation is key, s take the time to review the candidate’s CV, covering letter, and any additional information they’ve provided. Familiarise yourself with the job description and the specific skills and qualities you’re looking for in a candidate and prepare a bank of questions that will help you to assess the candidate’s fit for the role.

In my experience it’s the interviews that have been more of a conversation that have helped me find the best candidate, so use your prepared questions are prompts to keep the conversation flowing, as opposed to a wooden question and answer session – after all, a relaxed candidate will most likely let down their guard and show you the real them, which is what you’re aiming for, to see if that fits with your company and team culture.

2. Create a comfortable environment:

That leads us nicely onto my second point which is to put the applicant at ease as interviews can be nerve-wracking experiences for candidates. Creating a comfortable and welcoming environment can help put them at ease, allowing their true personality and capabilities to shine through.

I usually start the interview with some casual small talk to get a bit of rapport going and then start by asking for a potted history (e.g. very high level) of their career, which is a good way to get them to start opening up – just be sure to move them along if they get into too much detail at this stage, otherwise you’ll spend all your time here which isn’t going to get you the info you need.

3. Focus on behavioural interviewing:

One of the most effective techniques for assessing a candidate’s suitability is behavioural interviewing. Instead of asking hypothetical questions, delve into the candidate’s past experiences and actions; ask questions that prompt them to provide specific examples of how they’ve handled challenges or situations relevant to the role they’re applying for. This approach gives you valuable insights into their problem-solving abilities, communication skills, and work ethic.

4. Listen attentively:

Effective interviewing is as much about listening as it is about asking the right questions. Pay close attention to the candidate’s responses, observing not only what they say but also how they say it; take note of their body language, tone of voice, and overall demeanor. This will help you gauge their enthusiasm, confidence, and authenticity.
A good rule of thumb is that an interview should be 75% spent on the candidate answering your questions and only 25% for the interviewer talking about the role and the company, so make sure to let them speak!

5. Assess cultural fit :

Skills and qualifications are important, but they’re not the only factors that determine a candidate’s success within your organisation, as assessing cultural fit is equally crucial. Consider whether the candidate’s values, working style, and personality align with your company and team culture. Look for indicators of adaptability, collaboration, and a genuine passion for the work your organisation does.
The two primary qualities I look for in candidates is positivity and drive. If applicants have these things then I know they’ll be able to tackle problems with autonomy and bring enthusiasm and energy to the team and I find that to be a pretty good foundation to build upon.

6. Involve multiple stakeholders:

Incorporating multiple perspectives will provide a more comprehensive assessment of candidates, so involve key stakeholders from different departments or teams in the interview process.
Colleagues’ insights and observations can offer valuable perspectives and help ensure the candidate is the right fit for the broader organisation, so don’t rush through the process without getting a second stage arranged with someone else in the business.

7. Use psychometric testing:

Psychometric testing is a tool to help understand an individual’s working style, as well as their strengths and limitations in a work situation. There are plenty of cost effective tools on the market such as DISC, which offer a real insight into an applicant’s personality, making them a fantastic tool to question around at a second stage interview.

8. Follow up with references:

Before making a final decision, don’t forget to conduct thorough reference checks. Reach out to the candidate’s references to gain additional insights into their work history, performance, and character. This step can help validate the candidate’s qualifications and provide further assurance that you’re making the right hiring decision.

So there you have it, conducting an effective job interview requires careful preparation, attentive listening, and a focus on not just skills and qualifications, but also cultural fit.
By mastering the art of interviewing, you can identify the best person for the job and set your team and organisation up for success. Remember, the secret lies in asking the right questions, listening intently, and trusting your instincts to make informed hiring decisions.

At The HR Consultants we take the hassle out of hiring for managers and leaders just like you, so if you’d like help in finding the very best candidate for your team, our average time to hire is just 4 weeks and our fees are 15% of salary, so get in touch today for a no obligation chat.

Telephone 01789 614336