Interviewing Skills for Interviewers

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Interviewing Skills for Interviewers

As an interviewer, it is important to know how to conduct an interview so that you can get the most out of your candidates. Here are some interviewing skills for interviewers that you should master in order to be a successful interviewer:

1. Prepare for the interview. This means knowing the job requirements inside and out and preparing questions that will help you assess the candidate's skills, experience, and fit for the role.

Creating a short list of tasks to complete before each interview, will give you a guide to follow and help you stay on track.

We've found the most helpful to be:

-Review the candidate's resume and LinkedIn profile side-by-side with the job posting.
-Take notes on the areas of proficiency and where their skills may need to be developed.
-Identify 2-3 icebreakers to kick off the interview. This may be a mutual friend, alma mater, an influencer whose social media post you've both liked, or a network that you're both a part of.
-Log in and test your wifi connection, ATS, interview intelligence software, video interview software, headphones, and other items you'll be using in the interview.
-Show up on time.

2. Build rapport with the interviewee. This will put them at ease and help them open up more during the interview.

Using ice breakers during the first few minutes of the interview will build rapport with the candidate and set them at ease. This may be the interviewee and interviewer's first time interacting, so building rapport is vital to a great interview experience.

3. Ask semi-structured questions. Basic interview questions and answers will change based on the role you're hiring for, but there are a few key categories that should always be covered in an interview:

-Behavioral Interview Questions (the ones listed here are specifically focused on Software Engineering roles, but they can serve as a guide.)
-Technical Interview Questions
Cultural or Team Fit Questions
-Past Performance Questions

3. Listen carefully to the candidate's answers. This will help you gain insights into their thought process and whether they are a good fit for the role.

4. Take time to think about each answer before asking your next question. This will help you formulate follow-up questions and probe deeper into the candidate's skills and experience.

Asking great questions reflects a curious mind. There's nothing more attractive to a great candidate who's worked hard and built a resume they're proud of than to see someone else is interested in them.

5. Avoid leading questions. These will bias the interview and give the candidate an unfair advantage.

6. Always define the next steps. This will help set expectations with the candidate and ensure that both parties are on the same page.

Ending the interview by defining the next steps set expectations for both parties. It's important to be clear about the next steps so there are no misunderstandings.

7. Always follow up. Even if the answer is that the candidate isn't a great fit, having the decency to follow up and close the loop is important. Saying no to a great candidate well is one of the hardest skills to master as an interviewer, but this step shows the candidate that you care.

One of the biggest things I've come to respect in great leaders is their ability to deliver bad news well. A skill that helps soften the blow is kind transparency and honest feedback.

8. Give feedback. If the candidate is not a good fit, provide feedback so they can learn and improve for next time.

By following these interviewing skills, you will be able to conduct a great interview that will help you assess the skills and experience of your candidates.

Interviewer Preparation Before Interview

How you prepare for an interview will depend on a handful of variables:

-Who you're hiring.
-What you're hiring for.
-How many qualified candidates are in your pipeline.
-Your hiring process
-The time you have available
And more…

At a bare minimum, every interviewer should:

1. Review the job posting. This will help refresh your memory on the requirements of the role and identify any areas that you may want to focus on during the interview.
2. Review the candidate's resume and LinkedIn Profile.
3. Take notes on the candidate's fit for the role.
4. Identify 2-3 icebreakers to kick off the interview (mutual friend, alma mater, post both liked, shared networks.

Interviewer preparation before the interview will set the tone for the interaction. If you're familiar with the candidate, you'll be able to build rapport quickly and therefore the quality of your conversation will increase.

How to conduct an interview for example:

1. Break the ice, and build rapport. As humans, we gravitate toward being honest and forthright with people who're either like us or who show interest in us. While this shows bias, our ability to connect with someone is essential to having a good conversation.

2. Get to the meat of it. After you've built rapport, it's time to start asking questions that will help you assess the candidate's skills and experience.

Great questions are the difference between thinking you're hiring a-players and actually hiring them.

Additionally, using interview intelligence software to prompt an interviewer with semi-structured questions, record, transcribe, and identify and highlight a candidate's strengths and weaknesses is paramount. Interview intelligence software powered by AI gives you a competitive edge when assessing talent.

3. Probe deeper. As you're getting answers from the candidate, there will be times when you want to probe deeper. This is totally normal and expected!

4. Get to know them on a personal level. Finally, it's always a good idea to ask some questions that will help you get to know the candidate on a personal level.

5. Close the interview. To close the interview, simply recap what was discussed, thank the candidate for their time, and let them know what the next steps are in the process.

6. Give feedback. After the interview is over, it's important to provide feedback to the candidate. This shows that you're invested in their development and that you care about their experience with your company.

You can turn this framework into an interview script for the interviewer and recycle it over and over in your hiring process.

Some simple interview guidelines for interviewers to follow are:
-Be interested in the candidate.
-Be honest and transparent.
-Make a good first impression.
-Start the interview on a positive note.
-Ask questions that assess skills and experience.
-Probe deeper when needed.
-Get to know the candidate on a personal level.
-End the interview on a positive note.
-Provide feedback after the interview so the candidate can improve.

If you put any of the techniques listed above into your hiring process you'll greatly improve candidate experience.

Interview Techniques For Employers

Each interviewer has their own style of interviewing. However, here are some basic interviewing techniques for interviewers to ensure they're getting the most out of their conversations with candidates.

1. Active Listening

Active listening is a technique that involves focusing completely on the person who is speaking, understanding their message, and responding in a way that clarifies what was said.

This shows curiosity and interest.

One way to know if someone is listening to you rather than mentally preparing their own responses is by listening for thoughtful pauses and quality questions.

2. Use Open-Ended Questions

Open-ended questions are those that cannot be answered with a simple "yes" or "no." They require the person to elaborate on their answer.

Asking open-ended questions is a great way to get to know someone better and understand their motivations, values, and goals.

3. Ask Follow-Up Questions

Follow-up questions are a great way to get more information from a candidate. They show that you were listening and that you're interested in learning more.

Using these on a loop:

1. Question
2. Active Listening
3. Follow-up question
4. Active listening, etc.

Will give you a framework for understanding the candidate while building rapport and trust.

4. Avoid leading questions

Leading questions are those that hint at the answer you're looking for. They can be tempting to use, but they often give the person being interviewed a chance to give you the answer they think you want to hear rather than their true opinions.

5. Take Notes

This is an invaluable interview technique for employers who panel interview candidates to decide team fit.

It may seem simple, but having a reference to look back on later can be crucial when trying to make a hiring decision. Pillar's interview intelligence platform solves this for you by recording and transcribing every interview and offering the team an opportunity to highlight, review, provide immediate feedback, and score candidates during the live interview.

This leads to faster hiring decisions and shorter time-to-hire.

6. Avoid Personal Opinions

When interviewers share their personal opinions, it can make candidates feel like they need to agree in order to be liked or hired. This puts candidates in a difficult position and takes away from the objectivity of the interview.

Interviewing Tips For Managers

Before an interview ever takes place, there are steps to set up the interviewer and candidates for success.

The goal of any interview process should be finding the best candidate for the role. However, sometimes managers can get caught up in their own biases and preferences, which can lead to bad hiring decisions.

Here are some interviewing tips for managers to help them avoid bias and make the best hiring decisions:

1. Define the Role Clearly

The first step in any interview process is defining the role that you're looking to fill.

If you'd like a guide to walk you through this process, check out our guide; "Ultimate Checklist for Hiring Teams." It will help you create an effective hiring process from job posting to offer!

2. Now, write a job posting focused on the candidate's qualifications, not preferences or identifiers.

When writing a job posting, focus on the qualifications that are required for the role.

Avoid using any language that could be interpreted as a preference or identifier (e.g. " looking for a recent graduate").

3. Review each candidate's qualifications objectively.

This is often best completed through blind resumes and the removal of identifying data like names.

Once you have a pool of candidates, it's important to review each one objectively. This can be difficult to do when you have preconceived notions about certain types of candidates, but it's crucial in order to find the best person for the job.

4. Conduct semi-structured interviews.

One of the most helpful interviewing tips for interviewers that Pillar can give is to use semi-structured interview questions.

Semi-structured interviews are those that follow a specific format and ask the same questions of each candidate. This ensures that each candidate is given a level playing field and allows you to compare apples to apples.5. Take note of your interviewer's biases.

We all have our own personal biases, but it's important to try to set them aside when conducting an interview.

If you find yourself overly drawn to a certain type of candidate, take a step back and try to understand why that is. It may be helpful to discuss your biases with a colleague before moving forward in the interview process.

A great resource to help you identify your biases is this test. Created as a collaboration between Harvard University and Project Implicit, this "bias test" will help you identify and overcome any biases that may affect your interview process.

If you're looking to hire better, check out Pillar's interview intelligence software.

Pillar offers an AI-powered interview transcription and analysis tool that helps managers overcome their biases, coach their teams, and make better hiring decisions.

Pillar's interview intelligence platform takes the guesswork out of the interview process by recording and transcribing every interview and providing team members with an opportunity to highlight, review, and provide feedback.

Schedule a demo to see how we can help you make better hires.