Follow These Tips to Conduct an Effective Interview

Joe Weinlick
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Hiring someone new can be challenging, as poor judgment can cause major problems. After all, your employees are the lifeblood of your company. By the end of a well-executed job interview, you should be confident that the potential candidate is or isn't a suitable fit for your business. Here are five tips to help you interview potential hires more effectively.

1. Make The Applicant Feel Comfortable

It's no secret that job interviews can be nerve-racking for candidates. As hiring manager, it's up to you to make the candidate feel at ease. Your goal is to lighten the mood and help the interviewee calm down a bit. There will be plenty of time to discuss the professional details, so start things off easy. A warm smile and a few non-business questions go a long way. Remember: the person you're interviewing is also interviewing you. If they don't feel comfortable or welcome, you may miss out on the perfect new hire.

2. Do Your Homework

Before you even think about calling someone for a job interview, do your due diligence. Read the candidate's resume and cover letter thoroughly, and make sure it meets your requirements. Search their name online, and review their social media profiles. If the applicant passes the initial screening, there's a much higher chance that they'll also meet your expectations during the job interview.

3. Plan Your Questions

Interviews go both ways, and hiring an employee requires effort on your part. If you're not prepared, the interviewee isn't going to be able to represent themselves properly. Make a list of questions to ask, and make sure you ask the applicant to elaborate on answers until you're fully satisfied with the responses. You don't want to find out any unfortunate details when it's too late and contracts have been signed.

4. Give the Candidate Plenty of Time to Talk

An effective interview is a natural conversation -- not an interrogation. Instead of asking one rapid-fire question after another, ask open-ended questions that give the candidate a chance to open up. You want to encourage the interviewee to move beyond rehearsed answers and into more organic responses. Don't ask a question and then simply check it off the list. Make sure you remember the applicant's answers, and feel free to take notes for later review.

5. Encourage the Interviewee to Interview You

The questions a person asks a hiring manager during a job interview says a lot about them. Instead of just asking if they have any questions for you at the end of the interview, ask if they have any questions about specific topics throughout the entire course of the job interview. Topics you could suggest include the company's culture, expected duties, and the products and/or services your business offers. Your goal is to show that you're genuinely interested in their perspective. When they interview you, it becomes a back-and-forth interview, rather than a one-sided one.

There's no guaranteed formula for hiring an employee successfully, but it does get easier with experience. Look at every job interview as a learning opportunity. Be professional yet friendly, and try to bring out the best in your candidate. Your interview skills and intuition will naturally improve over time.

Photo courtesy of cpccsoman at


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