Knowing the best job interview techniques for employers is of utmost importance today. Hiring is a crucial process as it involves the talent hunt for the survival of the organization.
It is a big challenge to hire people having the right skills required for the success of the company. Interviewing these potential employees is indeed a decisive step as it filters out the most competent workforce for the company and decides its future.
Besides the interview process so commonly conducted everywhere, there is a big difference between the ideal practices and the practices usually followed. Deviations from these ideal interview techniques for employers can lead to big impact on the hiring quality of your organization and its achievement of goals.
Today’s best interview techniques for employers
Let’s have a detailed look on the latest and the most effective job interview techniques for employers. For this, first we need to know some basics about the interview process.
Types of Interviews
Based on the nature, interviews are of two types:
These interviews are the ones commonly conducted in organizations. The interviewers ask random questions from every candidate. As the interview process is not well planned so this gives rise to rater biases and poor outcomes. Hence, these interviews are not preferable because of the outcomes.
Structured interviews are the ideal ones, prepared by the recruiters in advance. The interviewers are well prepared and they ask same questions from every candidate for similar job roles. The purpose is to avoid any biases in the process.
Role of HR department
HR department plays the most important role in the job interview process. Laying out a transparent hiring plan, making its execution possible and defining the formalities of the interview process, these are all responsibilities of this department.
HR department is responsible for:
- Laying out a plan for the interview process.
- Training the interviewers from time to time on the latest interviewing practices.
- Ensuring that the interview process has no rater errors and biases.
- Designing the documentation for taking interviews such as score sheets.
How to conduct a good interview?
1) Be prepared in advance
Ensuring to complete the job interview formalities is a winning factor for interview process. These formalities verify that you have planned this entire process and have left no essentials unchecked.
- Among the best interviewing techniques, the foremost is to prepare oneself well for the interview session. Interview preparation is required not only for the interviewees but also for the interviewers. As an interviewer, prepare to take the interview in advance. Read the company policies and other necessary documentation. Try to know as much as possible about the positions being interviewed for and the competencies required so that you can assess the candidates with the relevant perspective.
- In this regard, Job Description (JD) is the most important document as it guides the interviewers to understand the competencies required for each job. Competency is “the collection of knowledge, skills, abilities and behaviors that the candidate must possess in order to perform the job successfully”. This JD provides a checklist to interviewers against which they evaluate all the candidates. So, a thorough reading and understanding is essential prior to conducting an interview.
2) Scan the resume
- Scanning the resume is one of the prime job interview techniques for employers that they skip. Before a candidate enters the room, make sure you have already taken 2-3 min to have a look at his resume and scan the important details. A recommended practice is to dig into those details of candidate profile which have not been clearly mentioned in the resume. Asking typical questions about the details clearly mentioned in the resume does not take the interview anywhere. Interviewers usually waste their time in asking these typical questions which results in hiring of incompetent people.
Summary: Interview process has one important purpose which most interviewers fail to understand, “digging into the details of applicant related to the job which cannot be explained by the resume”. So, focus on fetching those important details rather than the simple ones already explained.
3) Greet & relax the candidate
- It is an undeniable fact that candidates are stressed when they enter the interview room so it is a good practice to greet them affably and begin the interview with a few friendly questions. This is to make the candidates relax so that they can better express themselves.
- A rude and strict interviewer has more chances of making mistakes in choosing the right people. This is because his attitude has strong ability to affect the confidence of candidates thus, organization loses the competence it needs. This is one of the most important among the best interview techniques for employers. Hence, interviewers need to be trained for warmly welcoming the candidates.
4) Conduct structured interview
- After a brief warm up, begin the interview by focusing on the job description requirements. Ask all the questions strictly related to JD related factors for that specific job.
Summary: Don’t forget the role of structured interviews in this phase. For similar job roles, ask same questions from all the candidates. This is to ensure that interviewers evaluate everyone on the same job behaviors, competencies and job dimensions.
5) Evaluate in a structured way
Candidate evaluation is a continuous process in conducting job interviews. It starts from the moment candidate enters into the room till the minute he leaves. The most helpful interview techniques for employers in this regard are:
- assessing his both verbal and non-verbal communication. How he walks into the room can be an important factor to consider as this shows his personality and confidence. How he sits, shakes hand and other such gestures are some other strong indicators. But don’t let these non-verbal signals trap you as most of the times, they can mislead you and you might chose a person with good body language and less job competencies. The focus should always be on the job competency factors more.
- the resume design and layout tells a lot about the candidate. How much he knows about the recent practices of resume design? Has he spotted his efforts on designing a resume upon the competencies required by the organization in the job advertisement? Has he used the keywords for explaining these competencies? These elements in a resume show how much the applicant is enthusiastic for getting this job.
- another important scoring point is how he is answering your queries. If you were initially able to set the candidate at ease and now he is just bluffing around, that shows his lack of knowledge.
- record all evaluation scores in writing. The best practice is to have score cards with every interviewer. Record the results independently. Do not make a mistake of discussing the scores of candidate in front of him or any other candidate. This will shake their confidence and create bias. So, you’ll have big chances of losing some really good candidates.
Note: Never discuss the evaluation scores or interview feedback in front of candidates.
6) End interview on light notes
- Closure requires some simple tactics. It is better to inquire “Do you have any questions to ask?”. Transparently answer the questions of candidate. Closing on positive, friendly and light notes is always a preferred way.
Job interview questions to ask
Interview questions should never be random. Structured interviews have a defined set of questions for each job role. The job interview questions to ask fall in 4 major categories:
- Behavioral questions
- Situational questions
- Knowledge questions
Behavioral questions deal with the past attitudes and responses of candidates. These job interview questions to ask are one of the best choices for conducting interviews as they reflect the behaviors of candidates in specific situations in the past. Thus, they demonstrate well how this person has been handling his job matters.
You can ask questions such as:
- How have you been handling annoyed customers in your last job?
- How have you been dealing with authoritative boss in the past?
- Your degree of involvement in helping your peers on the job?
- Share any instance when you did exceptionally well in your job.
- Share any instance when you successfully corrected your one big mistake in the last job.
These are the questions which the interviewee might not have prepared for and he has to answer them promptly so there are 90% chances that he will come up with truth.
Summary – Focus on job related “behavioral” questions more as they give you insight into candidate’s past jobs’ behaviors and performance.
These are the most preferable type of job interview questions to ask in which you present a situation to the candidate, so he has to look into the future for the answers. Examples include reshaping the behavioral questions as:
- How will you handle an annoyed customer?
- How will you deal with an authoritative boss?
- Suppose you are losing an important client, what will be your strategy?
- How will you handle budget shortage in your project?
These situational questions predict the decision making and problem solving power of a person as the candidate has to answer these questions based on instant imagination of situation. The ones answering these questions well clearly demonstrate the ability to face any unforeseen situation on their jobs.
Summary– Focus on job related “situational” questions more as they give you a clear idea of candidate’s job and problem handling skills.
These job interview questions to ask relate to the knowledge and experience of an individual. Assessing that he possesses the right knowledge for this particular job and can bring real value to the company is ultimately the goal of asking these questions. Furthermore, experience in the relevant area shows that this person knows the requirements of the job, the recent practices of industry and has been solving problems related to this.
Similarly, focusing more on theoretical questions is not a good idea as this shows you put more focus on cramming ability of candidates. Asking them about the details of theories shows your confined professional approach. Today’s challenging work environment demands out of the box thinking and going beyond the traditional boundaries.
You might put too much focus on these aspects while the person with good knowledge and experience still has no decision making and problem solving abilities. He might have been performing a routine job in the last company and the job you are interviewing for, is very challenging and dynamic. So, the interview questions must have a great balance among all these types.
Summary – Focus on knowledge based questions to judge candidate’s job related competencies, not his cramming ability.
These job interview questions to ask are most of the times irrelevant questions too which might not only distract the attention of candidates but they can also deprive you of a very competent candidate. Relying on these questions completely is a poor idea and interviewers mostly ask these questions thus, end up in poor hiring.
Poor “others” questions can be your five year goals, your strengths and weakness etc. They are never a good source of competent hiring as all candidates know they have to answer these questions and they prepare their answers from internet or other personal sources. So, these answers are mostly based on exaggerations and have no connection with the reality. Every candidate will tell you he is hardworking, competent and punctual and he will always present his weaknesses coated in strengths so these questions don’t take your hiring anywhere.
Good “others” questions can be “what do you know about our company?”, “why do you want to join us?”, “how can you help this company grow?”, “what motivates your performance at your job?” etc.
Organizing your “others” questions is one of the most important job interviewing tasks as usually interviewers completely focus on these and the end result is poor selection.
Hence, make your interview questionnaire a good balance of all these 4 types but focus more on behavioral and situational questions as they demonstrate the skills needed in current dynamic work environment. Also, don’t over dig into “where have you worked in the past?” like areas as resume clearly covers these details . Focus on those knowledge based factors which are strictly job related.
Summary – Focus on job related “others” questions and avoid personal “others” questions.
Interview Strict DONT’s
Never ask “please introduce yourself”
You already have the resume which is the introduction of the candidate. Asking him this question usually takes decisive turns and as an interviewer you might not remain interested in what he says next in the interview. Introduce yourself is an open ended question and when you ask this, candidate can answer it in many ways. For example, she might tell you I am a single parent and have the responsibility of 2 children. You at once feel sympathy for her and decide to give her the job. Or he was a bit confused so he couldn’t give an impressive introduction but he could be a very competent worker so he got rejected because of this average introduction.
So, you can expect any answer when you openly ask him to introduce himself. Interviewers must avoid this question as this involves many personal details of candidate and thus, has more chances of rater biases. This is such an essential question in our every routine interview that interviewers start the session with this question, forgetting the rater biases it brings into the hiring process.
Don’t rely too much on GPA
It doesn’t truly reflect the potential of a candidate. A brilliant student might have lost his grade due to any reason. Many universities have biased grading systems so, relying more on his job related competencies is the best choice. Remember, not every shining student is a shining employee. His grades might have been a result of any biases or strong cramming ability.
Experience does not always matter in today’s work environment. Relying on just this factor is a total failure for your company. Hiring fresh minds for your company is a good idea too as they have more ideas and more energy. The nature of any job decides the consideration of this factor. So, don’t go for experience in every case.
The job interviewing skills you must have
Every organization needs to enhance the skill set of its employees and among all, recruiters need it the most. This is because they have to chose the right people for the right job. Thus, by doing this, they decide the future of the organization. So, this prime responsibility requires an enhanced skill set which is upgraded on regular basis in order to keep pace with contemporary industrial practices.
The essential job interviewing skills include:
- Interpersonal understanding
- Professional expertise and knowledge
- Company’s strategic knowledge
- Self confidence
- Self control
- Strong communication
- Deep analytical & conceptual thinking
Train to enhance these job interviewing skills
Good communication and people management training
Conducting trainings on regular basis ensures that these people have all the essential tools and knowledge to assess the candidates. A good and successful recruiter knows well how to bond with other people specially with the interviewees. Not every recruiter is a people person by nature. So, recruiters need training sessions on developing good communication and people management skills too. Only skilled recruiters can ensure competent workforce within the company.
Professional expertise training
Recruiters need to know at least the basic competencies and tasks for every job as they have to assess the candidates. Therefore, professional expertise is always a plus point for an interviewer as he is able to make a right decision. Knowing well a job himself helps him subtract any biases in the interview process. Thus, if recruiters lack some basic know how of the jobs being interviewed, HR department is supposed to conduct an intro session for this purpose.
Strategic knowledge training
Awareness of company goals and objectives ensures that recruiters hire the people according to company goals. Knowing the company strategies helps the implementation of the best interview techniques for employers easy and effective.
Self confidence training
Self confidence and self control are extremely necessary during an interview. Many people naturally possess these traits. But recruiters are supposed to be trained for developing these qualities for the smooth running of the job interviews. As they have to make selection decisions, their self control and self confidence have to be strong.
Flexibility in an interviewer is essential however, our interviewers ignore this rewarding quality. The benefits of being flexible during the interview are countless. They should be taught how much space to give to the candidates so that they are able to show their expertise.
Analytical understanding training
Deep analytical and conceptual skills help interviewers to connect the dots during the interview. Analyzing each competency of candidates against the job requirements ensures a successful assessment. Training recruiters for better understanding certainly results in the success of the process.
Hence, we can produce best recruiters if we focus on hiring competent recruiting team and then training everyone according to his needs. Once the recruitment team is trained, it can finally move forward towards successful hiring for other departments.
The last part of job interview process is Evaluation and assessment of the interview. Evaluation is itself a critical phase requiring rational and unbiased judgement.
An effective interview process can lead your company towards success so train your recruiters on how to conduct a good interview. These job interview techniques for employers certainly give you more dedicated and focused employees who fit well into their jobs and work in organization for long.