Employers: The ‘Perfect’ Interview

Interviewing an applicant for one of your open jobs is easy, right? Wrong!

A worryingly high percentage of hiring managers think they know precisely how to conduct an interview and fail to understand that a successful process must be adequately planned and structured. Developing and following a consistent, systematic process is the key to success.

Preparation is needed to ensure that your assessment of any applicant is objective and measured.

How to perfect your interview process

Knowing how to interview correctly means knowing what preparation is needed before the interview even takes place. Here’s a simple checklist of things hiring managers should do before conducting an interview:

Review the job description

Read the job description carefully, especially the candidate requirements section. Does it accurately reflect the job as you understand it?

Review the candidate’s CV

Ensure you read the candidates CV and any other supporting information (e.g., cover letter, LinkedIn profile, etc.) carefully. Look for any discrepancies on employment dates. Consider their skills profile and if it is a match with the job. Does their ‘hobbies’ section give any insight into their personality?

Structure the interview

Make sure you have a ‘timed’ structure in place for the interview. Make sure both the applicant and your colleagues are aware of this ‘schedule’ and what each section involves. Try not to overrun too much and never change the process on the day! It’s not fair to ask someone to come in and suddenly be thrown a curve ball unless that is something that would genuinely happen in the job.

Prepare some standard interview questions

Try to have a ‘store’ of standard questions that you can ask any applicant. This will help you to be more objective when assessing two or more applicants for the same job. Try not to read your questions out from the page in front of you. Instead, try to introduce them in a more ‘general’ way, as part of a more fluid and two-way conversation with the applicant.

Think about the location

Be sure to hold the interview it in a room that’s private, comfortable and appropriate. For example, would it be the right thing to conduct interviews for a junior job in a boardroom which can hold 40 people!

I always think the best interview is one that removes as many potential ‘distractions’ for an applicant as possible. That way, if they don’t impress you during the interview, you can be almost certain it is down to them not being right for your job, and no other reason.