Conduct a Flawless Interview Using These 3 Techniques

Joe Weinlick
Posted by in Career Advice

How you conduct an interview is a vital part of the recruiting process. As a hiring manager or recruiter, you use the interview as a way to get a feel for the candidate so you can judge if this person is a perfect fit for the position. Examine three techniques to improve the results of your interview.

1. Prepare Yourself

Just as candidate should perform comprehensive research on an employer ahead of an interview, you should do the same for the candidate. Before you conduct an interview, thoroughly vet the potential hire. Look into their professional backgrounds, previous positions and interests. As a standard practice, examine each candidate's employment history, searching for any red flags or glowing reviews. When speaking with former colleagues or employers, ask pertinent questions that can help you determine if the candidate is right for the job.

The purpose behind all of this research is to come up with individualized questions to ask during the interview. Yes, you have standard questions that you ask everyone, but the points you pick up on during your research help you get a better idea of the candidate's abilities and personality.

2. Ask Pertinent Questions

Rather than just ask questions about the candidate's strengths, weaknesses or hobbies while you conduct an interview, consider practical queries about solving problems. After all, that's why you're hiring this candidate in the first place. The person in front of you wants to solve your company's problems in creative and unique ways.

Pay attention to how the candidate answers your problem-solving questions when you conduct an interview. Gauge how long the person thinks about the issue, and then evaluate the response. Watch for any red flags, such as questions the interviewee doesn't answer or irrelevant responses that don't provide an answer to the question.

The potential hire should focus his answer on the solution and not the problem, because that can lead to negative outlooks on a situation. Plus, you don't want to hire someone who dwells on the problem without taking action to find a solution.

3. Have a Conversation

You conduct an interview to have a conversation with the prospect as opposed to interrogating the nervous candidate. This is where your research pays off. Start out the interview with a question that's not related to the job, like "How about those Cavs?" or some question that speaks to the candidate's personal interests. This breaks the ice and puts the person more at ease. Knowing your candidate humanizes you in the other person's eyes.

Don't forget to listen to what the prospect says. In doing so, you can improve the narrative by asking open-ended questions based on the person's responses. This continues the conversation, and it leads to both sides getting to know each other. Becoming familiar with a potential hire is the entire point of the interview, so make it as comfortable as possible.

These three techniques help you conduct an interview that gets to the heart of a candidate. By the end of your face time, you should have a much better idea regarding whether or not this person is a perfect fit for your firm.

Photo courtesy of Wayne McFall at


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