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Improve your interview skills as a hiring manager

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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, the hiring manager, feel in regard to your interview skills? 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. After all, you’re the first real impression the candidates have of your company, so you need to be professional, sharp and ready for follow-up questions.

To up your interview game before your next potential candidate walks into your office, consider the following tips:

1. Do your research
There’s a good chance the interviewee conducted some research on your company. Come as prepared as they are by collecting background information on them as well. Take a good look at your candidates’ resumes, LinkedIn pages and continue your research from there – you may find some of their past work if you do enough digging.

This timeframe also gives you a chance to look at their social media profiles to get a feel for their personality, which can help you understand how to conduct the conversation.

2. Be conscious of body language
Minda Zetlin, writing for Inc. magazine, suggested the following body language tips for interviewees. Keep in mind that while your candidates are focused on impressing you, they’ll still get a first impression from the way you act and present yourself during the interview. For that reason, consider the same body language suggestions:

3. Be a good listener
Even though you’re 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. Collect as much information during the conversation as possible, and even consider taking notes to reflect on after the interview. This will help you choose the best fit for the job.

4. 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 likely didn’t discuss during the interview.

Prepare your own questions to show your interest in the company.Prepare your own questions to show your interest in the company.

5. Have fun
Interviews often come across as an intimidating process that candidates can’t wait to complete. Make a great impression by being yourself and having a good time during the interview.  A happy mood can influence the atmosphere and strike up a positive vibe in the room, making the candidate feel more comfortable opening up to you.

6. Acknowledge the interviewee
Once the interview comes to a close, your candidates will likely take the time to thank you, whether it’s after the initial conversation or days later via email. It’s a nice, polite gesture that makes interviewees memorable, so be sure to return the favor and acknowledge them.

Don’t let the idea of conducting an interview seem like an interrogation. Consider these tips for reshaping your interview process before speaking to your new round of candidates.