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Seven Habits of Highly Successful Interviewers

June 25th, 2015 by Jackie Doherty


A successful interview is a conversation where both parties gain enough information to make the best decisions.  How well you present yourself and your organization is a key component of any interview to attract high-performing candidates to your firm. Equally important is getting a true assessment of a candidate’s capabilities, personality type, and compatibility with your team. The following tips will help you be more effective at engaging candidates and gathering accurate information to make the best hiring decisions:

  1. Rapport—Smart interviewers set candidates at ease to encourage a relaxed and authentic dialogue.  Do this by establishing a comfortable environment with good eye contact, a warm greeting that includes a smile with your introduction, and correct pronunciation of their name (Google “how to pronounce NAME” and find out in seconds).
  2. Be Prepared—Review resumes in advance, noting areas where more information would be helpful, aspects of their experience that are critical to the role, as well as areas that most interest you about them.
  3. Sell Your Opportunity—Start with a quick synopsis of your firm and the role that includes the benefits of a career with your organization and its key selling points. You should be able to articulate what it is that makes your organization and team a great place to work. (More about employer branding here.)
  4. Right Questions—Avoid questions that only require yes/no answers because they do not reveal enough information. For example, the question “Do you have experience with analog/digital circuit design?” doesn’t tell you the context, depth, or timeliness of the experience.  “Tell me about your experience with analog/digital circuit design,” however, requires a comprehensive response. See earlier post for more about asking better questions.
  5. Engage Candidates—Let them talk! Although dialogue involves a give and take, the candidate should do most of the speaking—not only  in response to your open-ended questions about their experiences and skills, but also in response to questions that tell a little about who they are as a person. (It’s as simple as saying “Tell me about yourself.”)
  6. Time—Be respectful of a candidate’s time, which means being punctual, staying on schedule, as well as allowing space for their questions. Also, inform the candidate what to expect in terms of the process timeline and when a decision will be made. Then follow up with the candidate as promised!
  7. Precise Comparison—Ask the same questions to candidates you are interviewing for the same role and use a tracking tool to help with comparison. Candidate comparison reports offer an effective way to measure who is the best fit for the role and your organization. For more about candidate comparison tools, contact us.

A successful interview enables both parties to gather enough information to make an informed decision.  Since an interview is not an event, but an exercise in relationship building, it is important that candidates have a positive experience with you and your organization. Even if they are not the perfect fit for the role today, they may be better suited for another opportunity down the road, or not.  Either way, smart interviewers know treating people with professional courtesy and respect is always a good habit.

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