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As an interview intelligence software provider to startups and SMBs in SaaS, tech, biotech, IOT, and other product lead organizations, one of the questions we're constantly asked is, "How to conduct an interview." So in this article, we're going to cover interview questions, tips for conducting an interview, and how to interview someone examples.
Think of this as a comprehensive interview guide for hiring managers. When conducting an interview, you should have timelines and hiring criteria set, interview questions prepared, and a plan for how you’ll use the information gathered through each interview. You'll also want to make sure the candidate understands what is expected of them during the interview process, and set aside enough time for your interviews.
Before identifying candidates to interview, draw out your candidate funnel. How many interviews will there be? Which interviews will you use to assess different aspects of the candidate’s skill set? Who will interview the candidate? Who will do what tasks and when? What happens after each step of the candidate funnel?
Next, create a job description that includes all of the skills required for the position, as well as a list of duties and responsibilities. This helps ensure that each interviewer understands which questions they must ask during their interviews.
When preparing to conduct an interview, consider the following tips:
1. Identify Your Goals: Before you get started, think about what specific outcomes you're looking to accomplish with each candidate. Ask yourself, “What am I hoping to learn from this interview?”
2. Research Your Candidates: Before meeting with the candidate, look up their background and any other information you can find online. This way, you’ll have more informed questions to ask.
3. Ask Open-Ended Questions: Ask questions that require more than yes or no answers so that you can get a better understanding of the candidate’s experience and competencies.
4. Take Notes: A great way to have meaningful conversations is by taking notes during each interview, so you can refer back to them later. It will also help you remember which steps of the process each candidate has gone through.
5. Listen Carefully: When interviewing someone, it's important to be an active listener. Show genuine interest in the candidate and their answers, and use body language to show that you're engaged.
6. Ask Candidates To Clarify: Make sure you understand what the candidate is saying by asking follow-up questions or for clarification when necessary.
7. Provide Examples: When providing feedback, it's a good idea to give specific feedback that will help the candidate - make sure that it’s objective and unbiased.
Having all of these things in place will allow you to create a successful and organized interview process. With the right preparation, you’ll be able to create an efficient hiring process that results in finding the best candidates for the role.
People interview in different ways. Recruiters, HR, hiring managers, all of us are looking for different defining characteristics in a candidate that we believe will help them excel at the job - or fail miserably. To get to that point, it’s important to ask the right questions and listen carefully for answers.
How to conduct an interview as an interviewer:
1. Prepare: Have a clear understanding of the job requirements and expectations of the position before you start an interview. This should be communicated to the candidate prior to the interview, and your questions should be tailored to those expectations.
2. Be Professional: Show up to the interview on time, dress appropriately, and be courteous. Show the candidate respect and keep the conversation focused on their experience and qualifications for the role.
3. Ask the Right Questions: Avoid yes or no questions and instead ask open-ended questions to get a better understanding of the candidate’s experience and competence.
How to conduct an interview as an employer:
1. Define the necessary skills and past performance required to succeed in the role,
2. Ask the candidate open-ended questions that help you understand their ability to perform the role well,
3. Listen to the answers and take notes for future reference,
4. Decide whether or not this candidate is a fit.
How to conduct an interview as a recruiter:
1. Know what the job entails,
2. Understand the company’s cultural values and mission,
3. Identify the traits that best fit the role,
4. Ask questions that will help you identify top candidates,
5. Listen to their answers and take notes so that you can compare them to the job descriptions employers have given you.
It's not that the interview changes as the interviewer or title changes, it's that we're looking for different things. The interviewer from HR is looking for cultural fit, the recruiter is looking for technical ability. The employer wants to know someone is the right person for the company culture and role, the recruiter wants to be sure that the employee will fulfill their obligations and not cause a charge-back.
Interview scripts for interviewers are everywhere, you can "google" millions of questions to find the right ones if that's what you choose to do. One of the reasons HR teams, recruiters, and hiring managers choose Pillar is a curated library of open-ended, data-driven questions specific to the roles you're hiring for.
Our suite of interviewing tools includes a list of more than 1000 questions that you can add to an interview queue as prompts during an interview. This way, interviewer preparation before the interview is less time-consuming, your interviews go smoother, and you can focus all of your attention on the candidate.
How to start an interview as the interviewer:
1. Introduce yourself and the company: Before diving into the interview, take a few minutes to introduce yourself and the company. Explain what makes the company unique and what you are looking for in a candidate.
2. Explain the role: Next, explain the job duties and responsibilities to the candidate. This helps to set expectations for what the job entails and gives them a better understanding of the role.
3. Ask Questions: Once you’ve introduced yourself and the role, it's time to start asking questions. Ask open-ended questions that allow the candidate to showcase their knowledge and experience.
4. Listen Carefully: It's important to be an active listener during the interview process. Don't just hear what the candidate is saying, but ask questions to clarify their answers and show that you're engaged in the conversation.
5. Make Notes: Take notes during the interview so you have something to refer back to when evaluating the candidate. This will help you remember which steps of the process each candidate has gone through and what their answers were.
How to end an interview as the interviewer:
1. End the Interview: At the end of the interview, thank the candidate for their time and give them an idea of when you expect to make a decision and how they will be notified.
2. Review Notes: After the interview, review your notes and any other information you have gathered about the candidate. This will help you compare each candidate to one another in order to make an informed decision.
3. Share any relevant notes with stakeholders and other members of your team who will be interviewing the candidate next.
When interviewing someone, it is important to ensure that the interview is conducted properly in order to get the best information and feedback from the candidate. You can use the tips we've given in the previous sections like a list of "interviewing techniques for interviewers" guide. Here's an example of how to structure a successful interview.
How to interview someone, example script:
"Hey (candidate), I'm (interviewer) from (company). After looking over your resume, LinkedIn, and portfolio I'm excited to meet you and see if you'd be a good fit for our software engineering role.
(Interviewer) Before we get started, I want to tell you a little about the role and our company, and then, I'd love to hear a little about your experience and thoughts on this role. Sound good?
(candidate) Yeah, that sounds great!
(Interviewer) Perfect. So,(company info and role specifics)! Now, I'm going to ask you a few questions about your experience and goals…”
As you can see, the conversation energy is light and the interviewer is doing most of the talking at first, but then opens "the floor" to the candidate so that they can settle into the conversation and style of the interviewer. This "flow" helps to build a rapport between the candidate and interviewer and gives the candidate an opportunity to tell their story more clearly and concisely.
Now, interviewing for higher-level employees may take a slightly different form. Often, managers, directors, and executive-level employees have done a lot of interviewing themselves and have a set of expectations before coming into the room. With this in mind, you may want to shift your format and approach so that it meets their expectations and pace. For instance, an interviewing tip for managers is to ask more specific questions that require a deeper dive into their experience and capabilities - rather than cover the broad strokes of experience and industry knowledge.
In short, interviewing someone can be intimidating - but it doesn't have to be. By doing your research and preparation, asking the right questions, and listening actively - you can craft an interview experience that helps candidates and the company win! By following these tips for conducting an interview, you will be able to get the best information from a candidate and make an informed decision.
If you'd like to see how Pillar has helped companies hire the right people and lower employee turnover by more than 50% in the past 12 months, book your demo today!