How to improve my interview game

4 Tips to Improve Your Interview Game

Looking to improve your interview game?

Candidates aren’t the only ones who have a lot riding on an interview. In fact, if you’re making the hiring decisions, you have a very important role in determining the company’s future success.

And then there’s the matter of impressing the candidate. The truth is, top professionals have to like what they see as well – so you need to make sure that you bring you’re A-game to every interview.

No pressure then!

To help overcome any anxious feelings and ensure you conduct a top interview, here are some top tips ready for you to implement.

Do your prep work

How many times have you simply forgot about an interview and ended up winging it? Once? Twice? All the time?  

As the old saying goes, “fail to prepare, prepare to fail.” In other words, you need to do your homework.

Being underprepared in an interview can not only make you appear unprofessional and flustered, but also make the whole experience a little bit awkward.

It can also make your decision harder in the long-run, as you’ll be too busy trying to get organised that you forget to take valuable notes and evaluate the candidate properly.

Before going into the interview, you should:

  • Print out a copy of the candidate’s CV and study it so it shows that you’re interested in them.
  • Review any relevant work samples.
  • Remind yourself of the job description so you can come up with some specific interview questions.
  • Refresh yourself of the company’s ethos, structure and benefits package.
  • Have a notepad and pen ready to take notes/score a candidate.

Make the interview personal to the candidate

Interviews can soon become repetitive when you ask the same questions. In fact, interview fatigue is a very real problem that could impact your ability to make the right decisions.

To stop this from happening, you should:

  • Take regular breaks in between each interview.
  • Limit yourself to a maximum of four each day.
  • Ask other employees to sit in and help.

More importantly, it’s also worth printing off the candidate’s CV and tailoring a few personalised questions too.

Identifying similar hobbies or topics of interest will make the conversation flow and ensure every candidate feels welcomed.

While competency-based questions are still very important, don’t be afraid to ask a handful of informal questions to help break the ice.

For example, if a specific candidate says that they love to play football in their spare time, ask them simple questions like:

  • What position do you play?
  • Do you support a team?
  • Who’s your favourite player?

At the end of the day, you might have to work with this candidate for a very long time. So, it’s within your best interests to get along on a friendly basis.

If you need some good examples of how to speak to and make a candidate feel relaxed, you may find our previous blog quite useful: ‘6 Interview Questions to Help Relax a Candidate’.

Address the interview structure

Using a structure is arguably the most important element to consider when you want to conduct a successful interview. Without one, the whole 20 or 30 minutes will appear disjointed and may leave both parties feeling unsure about each other.

You should always consider the following points:

  • Start on a positive note – try not to spend the first few minutes telling a candidate about how crazy your day has been. Instead, focus on showing your gratitude towards the candidate and thanking them for turning up. You should consider doing a kind gesture for them too like making them a tea or simply remembering to smile.
  • Avoid stressful questions at the start – if you’re thinking of asking challenging brain teasers, leave them for later in the interview. At the start, give them a nice, positive introduction about why you’re hiring and the kind of person you’re looking for. On the flip side, don’t bore them to death with the whole history of your company, as the candidate could lose interest and switch off.
  • Encourage questions  – one of the most frustrating parts about an interview for a candidate is that they usually have to wait until the end to ask any questions. Right from the start, tell them that they’re allowed to ask as many as they’d like at any stage of the interview. This will not only help the conversation flow, but it will give you a clearer indication on which candidates are genuinely interested and engaged in what you have to say.
  • Finish with another positive – the final sign-off to an interview can really make a lasting impression, so be sure to end it on a high. Picking out something you’ve learnt about the particular individual and using it as a final line is a top way of showing the candidate that you were present in the interview. For example, if they play football, wish them good luck in their next match as you show them the exit.

Don’t be biased

While you might not think you have any biased opinions which could impact your hiring decision, an article by The Guardian believes that very few of us are totally without prejudice in some shape or form.

Being open to change may well make you more consciously aware of any slight biases you may have. To find out if you have any, you should take Harvard University’s Implicit Association Test (IAT).

Alternatively, you can always invite another employee in to offer a more balanced review of a candidate.

Summary

The ultimate way to improve your interview game is to evaluate your processes.

By personalising your questions, getting to know the candidate/your own biases and using the right structure, there’s a high probability that you’ll do a better job.

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