An interview is the start of the professional career of a candidate, so it is extremely important both for an organisation and the candidate. So, for an organisation to get the best group of candidates, an effective interview is extremely important. If the interview is not effective, the organisation might lose out on many skilled candidates that could have been a huge advantage to them.
An effective interview is beneficial to both the recruiter, as it helps in accurately assessing the candidate, their strengths and weaknesses, and for the candidate to fully understand what s/he has to do for the company. The best recent graduate jobs all have an effective interview to filter out the best candidates from the applicants. So, it is a thing to be seriously considered.
An ideal interview has many aspects.
1. Be Specific
There is no point beating around the bush. Have a plan from the start. Have an idea of what kind of questions you want to ask the candidate. Ideally, be prepared for the same. Write down a couple of questions beforehand and do your research beforehand. Be straightforward and specific with your questions, and elaborate wherever necessary. They are all important in having an effective interview.
Simply beating around the bush by asking unnecessary and pointless questions would only confuse the candidate as to what the purpose of the interview is, and the objective of the job is, and may also distract them from the more important elements of the interview.
2. Developing a Rapport
Rapport is a very important part of any interview, not just job interviews. It is important for the interviewer to first form a rapport with the interviewee, or the one who is being interviewed. Forming a rapport itself has many elements within it. First and foremost, the candidate must be made to feel comfortable. Have a proper seating arrangement and making sure the candidate is feeling comfortable, are all important elements of an effective interview.
Another important aspect of forming rapport is ensuring that the candidate is aware of the objectives and of the broad outline of the interview. So, before the start of the interview, it is useful to inform the candidate of the organisation briefly, and just touch upon what kind of questions will be asked during the interview, and then start with the actual questions.
3. Go from Easy to Hard
Questions should not be posed randomly or in no particular sequence. Ideally, the questions should be asked with the easier ones at the start and difficult ones at the end. By doing so, the candidate is prepared for the harder questions as the interview goes on as the questions keep on rising in difficulty. Posing difficult questions upfront could shake the candidate up. They could feel overwhelmed and fail to perform to their best.
4. Be Observant
The answers that the candidate gives are not the only aspect of the interview that should be focused on. As an interviewer, one should also pay close attention to the body language of the candidate. The manner in which the candidate speaks, the way s/he phrases the words, mumbling and the way s/he sits, all speak a lot about the confidence level and various other personality traits of the candidate. All these signals must be observed in order to make a better assessment.
5. Have a Systematic Approach
Ideally, it is best that before starting an interview, one should be prepared and have a layout of how the interview is going to proceed. This approach is slowly being adopted in more and more interviews as it is effective. Having a systematic plan of how the interview is going to proceed, how it is going to be evaluated, and so on, helps in the process of assessing it, and also in making the interview go smoothly.
6. Be Inquisitive
Be sure to question every aspect of the candidate, in order to fully understand the answers that the candidate provides. Seek clarification if you do not fully understand a particular answer and so on. Questions by the interviewer is important in understanding the candidate fully. That itself is important as that helps in assessing more accurately and comprehensively.
However, it is equally important to draw a line. An interviewer must not pry on the private life of the candidate. Asking personal questions that is unnecessary is both unprofessional and could make the candidate insecure and uncomfortable. So, the questions that the interviewer prepares should be related to the job and strictly professional.
7. Make it a Conversation
As mentioned earlier, it is important for the candidate to feel at ease, in order to bring out his/her full potential. An effective way of doing so is to shape the interview into a conversation. Just talk with the candidate, casually, and pose questions, by creating a non-threatening and a friendly environment. This helps the candidate to open up more, which helps the interviewer to make a more accurate assessment of the candidate and his/her abilities.
8. Be in Control
Throughout the interview, no matter what method you adopt, it is important that you stay in control. The interviewer must hold the flow of the interview, that is, the type of questions asked, the kind of answers expected, and so on. This ensures that the interview sticks to the core aspect of assessing if the candidate is fit for the job, rather than being distracted and so on. As mentioned before, the best way to accomplish this is by having structured, systematic and prepared interviews.
9. Do not rush through it
The entire process of interview should never be rushed through. It needs to be a slow and a detailed process, during which the interviewer comes to know the candidate and assesses if s/he is fit for the job. If the interview is time bound, it is possible that the interviewer fails to assess certain elements of the candidate, or the candidate feels overwhelmed because of the limited time in which s/he has to answer.
Assessment is an equally important aspect of an interview. During this stage, the interviewer must consider all the aspects of the interview. It may be helpful to do the same during the interview, while hiding the notes from the candidate, and seeking clarifications if needed, and making the final judgement after consultation from other interviewers.
Having other interviewers is important as a panel helps in collecting more views. This helps in making the final result a decision that involves various viewpoints and observations, making it much more accurate than a judgement made by a single interviewer.
Interview is extremely important to the job selection process, so it is all the more vital that the process is done effectively. Adopting these methods into your process could help in having more candidates that could prove to be an asset to your organisation as compared to an unstructured and an ineffective interview.
So, go perfect the art of taking interviews, and get the perfect candidates for the job.