Recruiting new employees part two: Improving your interview technique

Taking on new staff can be a difficult and potentially costly process. As such, we have decided to focus on this topic for a mini series of blogs, each of which will cover a different aspect in the process.

Last time we looked at sourcing the right candidates. This time, we look at interviewing them.

Conducting interviews can be a lengthy and laborious task. Whether it’s something you have to do on a regular basis or not, interviews are something that almost all managers need to do during their careers.

Having a good interview technique is something that rarely comes naturally. Clients often report that they will get to the end of an interview and realise that although they have gleaned a lot of information about a candidate, they actually have little idea as to how suitable they would be for the role at hand.

Here are a few tips on honing your interview technique, helping to ensure that you make the right decisions when hiring members of staff:

Take time to think about the role and its requirements. The format of an interview will likely vary depending on the particular role you are trying to fill.

For example, interviewing for customer service personnel and technical IT support staff will demand different skills to be demonstrated. Whilst we would advise having a standard set of questions per role, take time to consider these before embarking on interviews for each position.

Utilise the job description you have put together and establish the key skills and attributes you are looking for in a candidate, then design questions based around these. Ask for examples of how the candidate has previously demonstrated the criteria concerned.

Remember your questioning style. Whilst potential candidates will probably be feeling nervous during an interview, it is easy to forget that as the interviewer, you may also feel under pressure.

Try to retain an open questioning style at all times, avoiding closed questions (ie. those that will only elicit a yes/no answer). Open questions will allow candidates to give detailed responses, the contents of which can be revealing to interviewers.

Open questions may start with “Tell me about”, “Describe to me”, “Explain to me”.

Don’t forget the art of conversation. Whilst you will want to check that the candidates have the required skills for the role, it is also important that any potential new member of staff will fit culturally within the organisation. Take some time, ideally before the formal set of questions, to engage in some informal conversation. This will not only put the candidate at ease, allowing more of their personality to come across, but also pave the way for a more honest and informative interview to follow. For more help and advice on hiring staff, or to speak to KMC HR about HR training, which includes training managers on interview techniques, please contact us.