Which interview strategies do you use to ensure that you make successful hires? After all, once your team has gone through the trouble of writing job descriptions that attract the right applicants, recruiting like pros, and lining up the best candidates out there, you don’t want to flounder around the last bend. This means going in strong.
Here are a few tried and tested interview strategies that will help you to lay the groundwork for interviews that will yield optimal results for everyone involved.
Interview Strategies That Will Put You Ahead Of The Recruitment Pack
1. Plan Ahead
Whatever you do, never assume that you will be able to ‘wing it’ in an interview. Always prepare thoroughly, and go in with a clear-cut plan.
Doing a job analysis before you even start the hiring process will provide you with several useful tools, especially when it comes to interviewing. After all, when you have in-depth insight into what the new recruit will be expected to do on a given day in the workplace, it becomes far easier to know what exactly you need to ask an interviewee when they sit in front of you.
Know what you need to find out from your candidate, and be prepared with a list of questions. Take the time to peruse their resume and cover letter thoroughly before you head in so you don’t spend time on questions that have already been answered in these documents.
TOP TIP: It can be helpful to film or record the interview (with the interviewee’s permission) so you can reference it after the fact. If you plan to do so, remember to prepare the candidate beforehand, ideally as a part of the preparatory email and information you send to them ahead of the actual interview. It's best not to spring it on interviewees as it can add a level of pressure that might make them more nervous than usual.
2. Liaise With Your Team
Whether you’re interviewing by committee, or there will only be two or three of your team present during the interview, be sure that everyone is on the same page before you go in. Ideally, you want to plot out the entire process even before you cross the threshold into the meeting room, so you avoid a potentially distracting situation where people talk over one another, repeat questions or make conflicting statements.
3. Get To Know Your Candidate
Take care to cultivate a welcoming environment in which an interviewee can feel free to express themselves naturally. Once you’ve got all the hard and fast stats you need, the interview should also be a space in which you can get to know the candidate to see whether they will be a good fit for your team.
Ask some leading questions that provide space for them to share some information about themselves. It’s best to think beyond the run of the mill 'tell us about yourself' question and zone in some more. For instance, you could ask 'which parts of your career journey did you enjoy most and why,' or 'tell us about an example where you felt you really proved your mettle in a previous position.'
TOP TIP: Before the candidate leaves the interview, ask them to write down a simple paragraph by hand. This is a very old-school test that can tell you a lot about a person. These days we are so used to communicating digitally that we very seldom get to see a person’s handwriting.
You don't have to do a deep-dive into graphology to draw the benefits either - you'll quickly be able to gauge how neat and methodical a person is when you look at how they express themselves on paper. Additionally, without spellcheck and Grammarly in the mix, you'll also be able to see how well they communicate in writing without any language aids.
Hiring for a bilingual position? Get them to write down the same sentence in both languages in which you’d need them to be proficient.
4. Plot Out Interview Time
Your time is precious, and so is that of your interviewee. Start off on the right foot by being timeous and not keeping your candidates waiting. Punctuality from both ends indicates that you value each other’s time - a big yes in the ‘hire me’ column.
Once you're in the interview, keep an eye on the clock. Allow sufficient time for each question to be answered and/or discussed thoroughly, but don’t get stuck on one topic for too long or allow the discussion to veer off in an off-topic direction. Always drive it back to the matter at hand to ensure that you get all the information you require.
5. Talk About Company Culture
Hiring for cultural fit is one of the simplest ways to reduce expensive (and disruptive!) voluntary turnover. It’s also a good tactic if you want to smooth the way for some fruitful employee engagement from the word go. As such, it only makes sense to make this a topic of discussion during the course of the interview.
Be honest with the candidate about what they could expect when they come to work for you. Is the vibe laidback and relaxed, or is there a fair amount of pressure and stress to handle on a daily basis? What is the management style of the person that they will be reporting to? Are they directive, authoritative, affiliative, participative, pacesetting or coaching?
Also, open the floor to questions from your candidate in this regard. Answer all their queries openly and honestly. After all, if they are envisioning a completely different set-up from the status quo at your place of work, they probably won't fit in well and are likely to seek greener pastures much sooner than anticipated.
Employing the right kind of interview strategies during your recruitment process can pave the way for successful hires down the line. It all comes down to planning ahead, liaising with your team and getting to know your candidate ahead of time. Also, remember to plot out interview time and talk about company culture. Following these guidelines will lay the groundwork for happy employees and stellar retention.