14 Tips for Interviewing Candidates

Consider applying some of these tips during the Confident Hiring Solution process.
  1. When you first see the candidate, greet the person warmly. Smile to relax him/her. Indicate your enthusiasm at having the opportunity to meet and find out more about him/her.
  2. Avoid generic questions – they tend to produce generic responses. Find out instead for example about specific situations involving the interviewee. For example, don’t ask, “How would you discipline an employee?” Phrase your question as: “Tell me about the last instance where you had
    to reprimand someone.” Follow up with questions to draw out the interviewee. Find out why he reprimanded the person, what happened afterwards and what he might have learned from the incident.
  3. Using the application form as a guide, question the interviewee about gaps in employment history, particular accomplishments, references you can contact.
  4. Get to the facts of the matter, especially when the applicant has presented a professionally prepared CV. Question the interviewee closely about achievements or qualifications that seem over-inflated.
  5. Keep your questions in logical order so you can get an in-depth perspective on important issues. If
    you skip from subject to subject you will confuse the interviewee and generate irrelevant discussion.
  6. Allow for silences. The interviewee will need time to think about questions and to elaborate on
    statements already made. Encourage further comments with leading remarks. For example, if the
    candidate say’s “I had one or two problems with my last boss”, you might respond, “Problems?” in a
    neutral tone to elicit further information.
  7. Describe some challenges the candidate may encounter in the job and ask for ideas on how to deal
    with them. Find out if he/she has had to deal with similar situations.
  8. Make sure that critical issues are fully dealt with. Use “what” and “how” questions to steer the
    candidate back on course if he wanders. Avoid “why” questions, as they can lead to defensive
    reactions.
  9. Watch out for following warning signs:
    • inappropriate dress
    • signs of anxiety beyond normal nervousness, such as excessive fidgeting
    • unwillingness to make eye contact (but be aware of cultural differences)
    • lack of satisfactory reason for employment gaps on a CV
    • inappropriate remarks about previous employers or colleagues
  10. After you have all the information you need about the candidate, discuss the job in question,
    describing tasks involved and criteria for success. Let the candidate consider whether the job is a
    good fit.
  11. Describe your organization and its culture and explain your expectations about the job. Leave
    time for the candidate to ask questions – these questions, or the lack of them, will reveal much
    about his/her character and interest in the position.
  12. At the close of the interview:
    • Explain the next step to the candidate, including whether there will be second
      interviews and when decisions will be made
    • Be honest with the candidate. If you know immediately that there isn’t a good fit, tell
      him/her, tactfully explaining why. Don’t leave him with unrealistic hopes, but be careful
      not to damage his self-esteem. Let him know what further skills or experience he needs
      to acquire and whether you will be keeping his CV on file.
  13. After the questions, use a standardized form to evaluate the candidate consistently. The
    following categories should be considered:
    • experience
    • education
    • skills and interests
    • dress and grooming
    • personality
    • voice
    • suitability to the job.
  14. Once you have a short list, do a reference check. Appropriate referees include former employers,
    colleagues, subordinates and customers.
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