Tips for Conducting an Effective Interview

Blog - Interview TipsAlthough I don’t know many Recruiters, I often hear horror stories from friends and family about their interviews and I read about them all of the time in various blogs. For some Recruiters, the etiquette and expectations are very straightforward while others tend to struggle. Not everyone knows how to deal with people! Today I thought I would share some tips/advice that have made it easy for me as a Recruiter to conduct an effective interview.

  • Make them feel at ease.

I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone say, “I’m so excited for my interview today! I’m not nervous at all!” The first thing that I try to do when my candidates walk through the door is make them feel welcome. I would never want my candidates to feel unwelcome or uncomfortable during their interview. The purpose of an interview is to get to know someone. If they don’t feel comfortable being themselves, the interview would serve no purpose.

At the Plan A office, we first offer to take their coat and ask if they would like a coffee, a tea or a glass of water. I usually ask how their day is going or discuss the weather; it may seem cliché, but it makes people feel at ease. Any sort of small talk usually does the trick!

  • Be prepared.

There is nothing worse than showing up to any sort of meeting and not being prepared for it. Not only does it give a poor representation of you as an interviewer, but it is also frustrating and can make the interviewee feel uncomfortable. Make sure that you have a pen that works. Make sure that you have all paperwork and documentation that you require for the stage of the interview that they are in. I usually get myself in order the day prior to the interview: I arrange the papers in the file and have them in order of who is coming in first to last. It helps the day run smoothly!

  • Be engaged.

There’s nothing worse than going in for an interview and feeling as though you are on the stand or being interrogated. When the candidate answers questions, relate to them if you are able to or simply follow up with a statement or second question. This will make the interview seem as though it’s more of a conversation. This will allow the candidate to open up more to you and answer the questions more effectively.

  • Tell them about your company.

You and I both know that in today’s age, it is easy to send out a mass email to multiple employers who are hiring without having any idea about the company or what they do. It happens to me all of the time. The first question I ask is, “How did you hear about Plan A?” I want to know where they heard it from to see if they would have received any additional information about the company and what the job entails from that source. If it’s word-of-mouth or from a current employee, chances are they know what the company is about. If they saw flyers, brochures or advertisements on Job Banks and Kijiji, you may want to explain the position to them prior to beginning the interview. If they are no longer interested once they learn about the position, that’s okay! It happens. It’s better to learn before the interview than to learn later on that you wasted your time.

  • Explain the process.

I’m the type of person that always needs to know what’s going on. If I’m walking into a situation without any clue as to why I’m there, you may witness a minor freak out. Interviews are frightening for most people so explaining the process may help them relax. I always explain that we will be completing a questionnaire, but if they have any questions that they are welcome to ask. I explain how the interview process is a one or two part process, depending on their designation. I like to explain how the company operates and why we do what we do. Although they may have had some information coming in to the interview, I am usually able to tell them something that they didn’t know.

  • Allow them to ask you questions.

There’s nothing worse than hearing, “We’re going to go through a bit of a questionnaire today. If you have any questions throughout the interview, please wait until we are through with my questions to ask them.” They are there for you to meet them and learn more about them, but they are also looking to learn more about you and what you have to offer. It isn’t an interrogation where only one party gets to speak. Allow them to ask questions throughout the interview. They may forget if they have to wait until the end.

Encourage them to ask questions as well. If they look confused or appear as though they were going to say something, encourage them to ask. It may teach you something in the long run! No question is a stupid question.

  • Always explain the next step.

How would you feel if you were to complete an interview and at the end the interviewer said, “Well that’s it for my questions. Thanks for coming in today. Stephanie will see you on your way out.” I always tell my candidates what the next step will be: completing reference checks, reviewing your file with my supervisor deciding from there whether we move on or withdraw an offer of employment etc. I always leave them with one of my business cards as well and tell them that if they have any questions or concerns not to hesitate to call or email me for clarification. I want them to be as clear about the next step as possible and I want them to feel comfortable speaking with me!

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