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10 Interview Techniques for Employers and Hiring Managers

10 Techniques For Better Interviews
Reading Time: 7 minutes

What is the most effective method for interviewing candidates?

To effectively interview candidates, use a structured approach that includes thorough applicant research, rapport building, bias avoidance, appropriate questions, active listening, pre-employment testing, follow-up question preparation, candid feedback provision, and post-interview communication.

Candidates often practice for an interview – trying on their new clothes to nail the physical appearance, practicing conversation and learning how to take control of mannerisms that could make them come across as nervous.

But how do you manage your interview techniques as the hiring manager or part of the hiring team? In a recent whitepaper by Robert Walters, a staggering 61% of job seekers consider their interview experience a critical factor in shaping their perception of a potential employer.

Whether you’ve been managing human resources for years or you’re still new to the position, there’s always room for improving your skills as the interviewer. Without adopting the right techniques, your interviews might fall short in identifying top-tier talent or worse, lead to misguided hiring decisions.

To up your interview game before the next potential candidate walks into your office, we’ll share 10 battle-tested interview techniques for employers and hiring managers.

What Makes A Good Job Interview?

A successful job interview is all about creating a positive and productive conversation. This conversation allows both parties to assess the suitability of the candidate for the position. It also helps them gain insights into each other’s expectations and company culture.

The interviewer’s role in this process involves asking open-ended questions while also providing information about the company culture. Paramount to this is in demonstrating professionalism and respect, along with prompting engagement from the interviewee.

Certainly, the interviewee should come prepared to articulate their skills and experience, confidently and professionally., A well-seasoned interviewer makes the process easier by inviting the interviewee to ask thoughtful questions. This results in a positive impression about the culture and team.

Why You Should Improve Your Interview Techniques

Upskilling is one of the most popular terms within the HR space right now, and it’s not just for entry-level roles. As an employer or hiring manager, sharpening your interviewing skills is a game changer when it comes to hiring the perfect candidates for your team, giving you a major edge over your competitors.

Attract top talent

To stand out in a candidate-driven market, you need to be able to attract the best and brightest talent to your organization. One of the best ways to do this is by having a positive and professional interview process. 

When candidates feel like they are being interviewed by someone who is knowledgeable, respectful, and, good at their job, they are more likely to be interested in working for your company.

Make better hiring decisions

Conducting effective interviews helps identify the right candidates for your organization. By asking the right questions and assessing their answers, you can determine their skills, experience, and motivation. 

This results in informed hiring decisions that benefit both the company and the candidate, while reducing costly high turnover rates, saving time and money.

Enhance your employer brand

A positive interview experience can reflect well on your company and enhance your employer brand. When candidates have a good experience interviewing with your organization, they are more likely to tell their friends and colleagues about it. This can help you to attract more qualified candidates in the future.

Stay ahead of the competition

In today’s competitive job market, you need to do everything you can to stay ahead of the competition.

By improving your interview techniques, you can increase your chances of hiring the best candidates and building a strong team. It can even help you spot rising stars – those candidates with less experience but abundant potential.

10 Interview Techniques For Employers and HR Managers

To become adept hiring managers, it is crucial to refine your skills by embracing industry-approved interview best practices. Here are the go-to tactics that will elevate your interviewing game.

Employers Using Effective Interview Techniques Lead To Happy Candidates

1. Research Applicants Thoroughly

Before inviting someone to interview, spend time researching their background. Carefully review resumes, portfolios, and LinkedIn profiles.

Being knowledgeable about their background demonstrates your commitment and sets the tone for a more insightful conversation. 

Use what you learn to craft customized questions based on their experiences, knowledge gaps, and career goals.

2. Establish Rapport

You can establish a positive and inviting interview atmosphere by building rapport with your candidates. First, greet them with a genuine smile and introduce yourself warmly. Offer them a comfortable seat and engage in some light conversation to help them feel more relaxed. 

Highlight positive aspects from their application to show that you’ve reviewed it carefully and to build their confidence. 

Remember to maintain eye contact, and avoid controversial topics to demonstrate respect and professionalism. By building rapport, you encourage candidates to express themselves authentically and create a meaningful interview experience.

3. Avoid Unconscious Bias

To build a diverse and inclusive workplace, you need to actively consider any unconscious bias in your hiring process. You should base hiring decisions only on job-related skills, achievements, education, and abilities. Don’t let factors like gender, race, religion, or other personal qualities affect your choices.

One way to reduce bias is to use standardized processes. Ask all candidates the same questions and evaluate their answers fairly, and make sure your colleagues on the hiring team do this as well.

Don’t ask questions that aren’t related to the job, and be aware of your own biases so you can avoid letting them influence your decisions.

Pre-employment tests can also help to avoid unconscious bias in hiring. Standardized assessments center on job-relevant skills and qualifications, reducing subjective factors and making more objective hiring decisions.

4. Use The Right Job Interview Questions

Interviews help you evaluate candidates beyond surface-level responses. With the right interview questions, you can assess their critical thinking, technical abilities, communication skills, and other intangibles to find a well-rounded fit for your organization.

Avoid resorting to cliché questions like, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Instead, craft situational questions that reveal problem-solving strategies, grace under pressure, and the capacity to handle complex challenges.

Here are some examples of situational job interview questions to ask:

5. Actively Listen

Although you’re the one conducting the interview, the candidate should do most of the talking. The Balance suggested practicing how to be a good listener so you don’t waste any time during the meeting.

Resist distractions and give full attention to applicants as they respond. Maintain eye contact, take notes, and ask thoughtful follow-ups to learn as much as possible in your limited time. 

Actively listening to candidates during interviews can improve your recall and provide additional insights you may have otherwise missed. This approach can also make candidates feel valued and appreciated, which can encourage them to open up and share more about themselves.

6. Sell Your Workplace Culture

Give candidates an honest description of the job, including its responsibilities, challenges, and expectations. Transparency helps candidates make informed decisions. 

Emphasize the positive aspects of your company, such as your values, community, perks, and career growth opportunities. Remember, skilled candidates often receive multiple job offers, so it’s important to convince them to choose yours.

7. Use Pre-Employment Tests

Pre-employment tests reveal insights into a candidate’s skills, personality, and cognitive abilities before you meet them in person. You can confirm the abilities and traits they claim on their resume.

One way to incorporate pre-employment tests is to have candidates complete them online as a first step. Choose tests that align with the core competencies needed for the job. 

For customer service positions, test for typing skills, and emotional intelligence. For analysts, test their problem-solving and critical thinking.

Review results carefully and flag inconsistencies to explore further during the interview process. On the flip side, pre-employment assessment tests can also reveal hidden strengths such as creative thinking or strategic skills. 

Many tests have follow-up interview questions based on test results, which help you dig into any topics in which they scored poorly. 

8. Practice How To Answer Follow-Up Questions

At the end of the interview, you should ask your candidates if they have any questions. A qualified, interested candidate should have prepared questions ready for you, so be sure you know how to answer them. 

Be ready to talk about salary, benefits, work perks, working environment, and other common factors candidates are interested in that you may not have discussed during the interview.

9. Give Candid Feedback

Even when rejecting applicants, you can consider providing feedback about why you didn’t select them. Helping candidates understand shortcomings allows them to improve for future opportunities. Giving caring closure also demonstrates empathy and reflects well on your brand as an employer.

Here are some tips for giving candid feedback:

10. Follow Up After The Interview

After the interview, send the candidate a thank-you note or email. This shows that you appreciate their time and consideration. It’s also a good opportunity to reiterate your interest in the candidate and provide them with any additional information they may need.

Keep in mind that these interview techniques for employers are just general suggestions. Don’t forget to add your flare, and always aim to make every interview the best one yet!

What to Avoid When Interviewing Candidates

When interviewing job candidates, knowing what not to do is just as critically important as knowing the right techniques. Here are common mistakes to avoid:

Interview Techniques for Employers: Continuously Improve Your Interview Process

The world of talent acquisition is constantly evolving, with new techniques and best practices emerging regularly. Stay up-to-date on these developments by reading industry publications, attending workshops and conferences, and networking with other HR professionals.

Incorporate tools such as pre-employment testing and video interviewing into your process to improve its effectiveness.

Interview Techniques for Employers: Wrapping it Up

Mastering the art of interviewing is crucial for hiring managers, as it enables them to build talented teams that drive business results. Conducting lackluster interviews has severe consequences, but when done right, interviews serve as the ultimate recruiting edge.

As your experience grows, you’ll develop instincts for interpreting verbal and non-verbal cues, craft custom questions, and research candidates thoroughly. Prioritizing these areas leads to faster hiring, better onboarding, and a seamless talent pipeline.

Becoming a talented interviewer is essential for hiring all-stars and fueling your organization’s goals.