3 Ways to Run a Better Interview and Narrow Down Your Candidates

shutterstock_295816643Job candidates often feel the pressure is only on them during an interview, but the person conducting the meeting bears a lot of the responsibility for whether the interview is a success, regardless of whether a hire is made from it. Interviews provide you with the opportunity to evaluate a candidate’s communication and social skills and allow you get a “feel” for who they are. By properly preparing for the interview and asking the right questions, you increase your chances of making the right hire.

Properly preparing and knowing the right questions to ask aren’t easy tasks. Do you need to ask questions like “What’s your greatest weakness?” Here are three ways to run a better interview—one that works for both you and your candidates, and results in successfully narrowing your choices down to the ideal employee.

  1. Identify Job Duties and Requirements

Prepare a job analysis to generate a list of specific and important aspects of the position and what is required for its successful performance. If you are not an expert on the particulars, consult with a Subject Matter Expert. This helps to make the interview much more relevant to the job, and results in the interview itself being a more positive experience.

  1. Develop a Standardized Interview Process

Prepare your questions in advance so that all job candidates are asked the identical questions, ensuring that the information you obtain from each candidate is comprehensive and relevant to your final choice. Stay flexible, and be prepared for some answers that don’t provide enough information, in which case you’ll need some follow-up. Limit the number of questions to no more than 12 for a one-hour interview.

  1. Reserve Candidate’s Questions for Last

Some experts recommend otherwise, but the evidence appears to suggest that allowing candidates to ask questions too soon has a counterproductive effect on the interview. Complete your interview and then invite the candidate to ask questions. This allows for genuine engagement on a more personal level. Be sure to take detailed notes during the interview. It lets candidates know you are listening and respect what they have to say. It also comes in handy when you’re down to your final choices. Consulting your notes can help you see why one candidate most deserves the job.

Utilizing an Agency

It can be extremely helpful to use a hiring agency when searching for the best candidates. Agencies streamline the interview process by pre-screening and short-listing applicants, making it easier for you to concentrate on identifying which pre-screened candidates will best fit into your organization’s culture. Be sure to work with an agency that uses the same hiring criteria your organization does.

Remember; your job is not only to assess candidates but to convince the best ones to stay. Following these three steps will help you make the right hiring decisions more consistently. And, as to whether you need to ask a candidate: “What is your greatest weakness?” Many experts say yes, though it can be done in more creative ways.