How to Conduct an Interview

How to conduct an interview

Do you need to recruit people for your small business? Or you are part of the company’s executive team and thereby needs to screen applicants. Whatever your designation, as long as you deal with potential hires, you have to educate yourself on how to conduct an interview and be effective in your interview techniques.

Keep in mind that there’s a difference between interviewing a candidate and knowing how to do it effectively.

Say you’ve gone through the initial step of scanning the pile of resumes on your desk, or those on your computer.

After you’ve sifted through your options, the next step involves conducting an effective interview, this time, face-to-face.

Here, a better understanding of this process will be essential especially since you might only have about an hour to speak with your potential hires.

How to interview a candidate

The challenge, given the limited amount of interview time, is not only for you to get to know the person as best as possible. It also lies in determining whether or not he or she can be an asset to your company.

This is where applying the correct interview process will be crucial.

So, how many of you (panelists) should be there during the interview?

What should you be looking for in a candidate?

What structure should you consider using to conduct your interview?

Should you stick to asking common interview questions?

Well, below are some helpful tips for conducting an effective interview.

These days, the game no longer revolves around you as the HR professional or employer just knowing how to hire an employee.

The employment market is constantly changing and improving for that matter.

Professionals have more prospects (more options) for employment.

How to interview candidates

Not only should you present yourself as a company that they’d want to work with.

But you should also see to it that you find the right people.

People who’ll fit the job like a glove and be able to help your company achieve its goals moving forward.

This is where the following steps to hiring an employee will be valuable indeed.

As previously mentioned, with countless opportunities at their disposal, candidates are becoming choosier when it comes to the type of listings that they apply to.

These days, making a sign that simply says, “Hiring New Employee”, won’t really get you that far.

There are numerous independent resources on the Internet that serve to inform candidates about company culture and other relevant things.

Interviewing candidates

These days, it’s rather safe to say that the mystery that once clouded interviews have come and gone.

Additionally, if there are red flags within businesses, these are no longer easy to cover up either.

These and more, are reasons as to why you should up the ante when it comes to your recruitment practices.

Make sure that you have a checklist for hiring employees.

Also, see to it that you know how to handle interview questions like a pro.

Assess potential hires to see if they can contribute to your operations.

However, ensure that you’re also able to convince them of the idea that working with you will be well in their favor.

How To Interview Candidates Effectively

How to interview job candidates

Now interviewing a potential employee is no walk in the park.

Even for the best human resources practitioners across industries, varying interview techniques are applied.

More often than not, the entire interview process may also shift depending on the candidates.

So, knowing how to conduct an interview won’t solely revolve around listing down interview tips or creating a list of questions to ask candidates.

Rather, it will focus more on providing a checklist for hiring employees.

Here are tips to get you started.

Prepare Your Interview Questions To Ask Candidates

How to interview job candidates effectively

Part of the basics when it comes to learning how to conduct interviews includes preparing a specific list of questions to raise.

To effectively conduct an interview for a candidate, you have to understand that it’s also better to be flexible when it comes to these questions.

Especially with how competitive businesses are these days when it comes to top talent, you want to ask the kind of questions that will help you identify which candidates can contribute to your cause.

Here are some interview question tips for you.

How to interview an applicant for a job

  • Familiarize yourself with the resume and portfolio of the people you’ve scheduled to interview
  • Familiarize yourself with the position being offered
  • Go through the job description and assess the needs of the company
  • Figure out what kind of attitude and skills you’d like the new hire to possess
  • Factor in what your current employees have in common in terms of their attributes
  • Consider achievements that you’d like to look into
  • Consider previous roles and companies that the candidate worked in and for
  • Ask about successful projects in previous roles

Apply An Interview Structure That Will Put Candidates At Ease

How to interview people

Did you know that one of the most important steps to hiring an employee is making sure that they’re not stressed when they come in for an interview?

Remember that on most occasions, it is you who’s in need of their expertise, not the other way around.

A stressful interview experience will give them the idea that working for your company may be even more stressful.

Even if you reach the point wherein you’ll decide to offer them a job, chances are they’ll pass up on the offer.

Interviewing candidates effectively

Concerns about the interviewer and his style of conducting interviews may come into play.

They (the candidates) will surely also think about how to handle the interview experience.

Giving rise to questions and thoughts like, Am I good enough?

How long will it take? What should I wear?

I hope I won’t be late, etc.

These and more are common thoughts shared by candidates days before they’re set to come in for an interview.

The problem with stress is that its presence may cause the candidate to not perform as well as he or she can.

This is why you should try to reduce the stress that comes with interviews.

This way, you can steer the conversation in such a way that the details you’ll receive will end up helping you assess a candidate’s value even easier.

Here are some of the things you can do:

Interviewing job candidates

  • Mention the topics you’d like to discuss beforehand
  • Be flexible when it comes to meeting times and venues
  • Mention the preferred dress code

Conducting An Effective Interview Means Involving A Limited Few

Tips for interviewing candidates

There are other tips for conducting an interview that you should never forget.

One of them is limiting attendance from your end to a just few.

Remember the discussion about reducing stress for the candidate?


Having a full panel of execs won’t really help your cause.

Involve relevant personnel if necessary. 

Keep in mind that you can always seek counsel from the head honchos when needed.

What you should do is find the balance and have the right number of people present during the interview.

Another thing that you can consider is applying multiple stages to the interview.

If you have candidates that pass your initial screening and interview, you can ask another person to run or conduct the next stage of the interview.

Best way to interview candidates

Just make sure that the process is not too long as the constant back-and-forth can be a deal breaker for some candidates.

In a world where opportunities are in high numbers and efficiency is gold, you want to show them that you value whatever it is that they have to offer.

You also want to show them that you respect their time.

Maximize The Interview Time By Assessing Potential

How to conduct an effective interview

Note that there are plenty of HR practitioners who know how to carry out an interview, but only a few know how to assess potential.

This process isn’t simply about getting answers to generic questions.

It’s about deciphering whether or not a candidate will be suitable for the company and position being offered.

And this is why you have to maximize your time in as early as the first stage of the interview process.

Use this time to see whether or not a candidate is competent or has the potential to learn the tricks of the trade.

Look for signs of interest, curiosity, engagement, insight, and of course, determination.

You want a go-getter, a self-starter, and most importantly, a reliable team player.

Tips on how to interview potential employees

It’s not just about whether this person can do the job today.

It’s more of whether he or she can do a superb job moving forward and possibly take on even more roles as the company grows over time.

Ask about their insights on how the industry is moving and how they plan to take part in it.

Remember that you want someone who looks into the future, not a candidate who’ll simply treat you as a paycheck.

Avoid Common Interview Questions; Instead, Ask For Usable Solutions

How to conduct a job interview

Especially for those who’ve attended countless interviews, they’ll find the usual questions boring.

In turn, they might have the same assessment of your company.

These days, you shouldn’t stick with just asking the common questions during job interviews. Inquiries about strengths and weaknesses are no longer enough to help you find the right people.

The problem with most of these questions is that they’re inquiries that candidates can easily lie about.

They know that they have to impress you and so they’ll provide you with generic responses as well.

Do you really think you can find the right hire with responses such as “I’m a hard worker” or “I am a team player”?

Conducting an effective interview

Ask the kinds of questions that will give you an idea as to how a potential hire will address a real scenario if you decide to hire him or her.

Provide a situation and ask them to walk you through their thought process and plan of action.

Ask for potential pain points.

Also, ask for their insights on where the company can capitalize on opportunities.

By asking them to provide real solutions, you can gain a better insight into how they think and how they work.

Using this information, you can then determine how much of an asset they can be to your company.

You’ll also be able to see whether or not they’ll be a fit for the position you’re trying to fill.

Consider But Don’t Obsess Over Cultural Fit

How to conduct a good job interview

Another important thing when it comes to knowing how to hire an employee is making sure that a candidate will fit into the company culture.

But it’s also important that you don’t obsess over it.

Keep in mind that people can always adjust. You just have to make sure that your chosen candidates have the potential to do so.

Cultural fit is an important concept in modern business.

Not only should people fit into how the company operates, but they should also have the ability to work within a diverse professional environment.

This is an important component of the interview process that you by no means should take for granted.

How to conduct a successful interview

You want to assess whether or not he or she will be comfortable in your workspace but you also want to see to it that your current employees will be as comfortable having him or her in the picture.

For this, you want to ask questions that will show you if he or she is a short or long-term thinker.

You want to gain some insights into his or her disposition when it comes to cross-cultural collaboration as well.

Hiring New Employees By Selling The Position And The Company

Conducting an interview

Given the fiercer competition amongst top talent across industries, you not only want to sell the position but the company as well.

Especially if you feel that the interview is going well and the candidate has the potential to be a contributing member of the team, spend time talking more about the role.

Also, talk about the organization and see to it that you include insights as someone who’s working there.

Talk about the people, the initiatives, anything worth mentioning really.

But make sure that you do this towards the end of the interview.

There are plenty of HR professionals who make the mistake of selling the role and organization too early in the game and this reduces the appeal of everything almost immediately.

Interview best practices

After hearing what the candidate has to say in response to your questions, connect his or her responses with elements within the organization to show how they will be a great fit and addition to the team.

See to it that you keep the process fun and interesting.

Open the opportunity for them to meet key people within the organization.

In this case, you want them to have this chance to immerse themselves in the culture and meet people who ‘live it’ every single day.

You may even want to offer them a tour of the office.

It’s All About The Dos And Don’ts

How to be a good job interviewer

Hopefully, these tips and suggestions will help you conduct more effective interviews moving forward.

In summary, remember to reduce stress on the candidate, focus on situational inquiries, ask for real courses of action, and sell the position and organization.

If there are things you have to steer clear of, they are, not doing your pre-interview preparations and research, jotting down interview questions based on a candidate’s skills, abilities, and history, as well as having too many people join the first face-to-face interview.

Obsessing over whether or not a candidate will be a direct fit to the company is also highly discouraged.

Job interviews serve to help you assess potential in people.

This is why you should always focus on maximizing every minute you spend talking with a potential hire.

How to conduct a great interview

Don’t waste it on generic questions and make sure that you offer value as they will too (once you decide to offer them the job, of course).

Also, remember to tell them why working with you will be such a great way for them to progress in their chosen field of work.

Discuss the opportunities you can extend to them, i.e., opportunities that are beyond what they can gain from their scope of work.

Do this and you’ll be well on your way to getting the best people on your side.

With the above tips, do you feel encouraged to take on conducting an interview?

Please share your thoughts with us!

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how to conduct an interview