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7 Interviewing Techniques to Conduct an Effective Interview

If conducted properly, interviews are one of the most effective tools for selecting the right candidates. When interviewing candidates for an open position, you have a limited time to cover a significant amount of information. That means it’s important to make the most of the time you have.

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Types of interviews

There are several different types of interview styles you can use to screen candidates, such as:

  • In-person interviews: In-person interviews are held at the worksite, with both the interviewee and interviewer present.
  • Virtual interviews: These interviews are conducted completely online.
  • Phone interviews: Employers often use these interviews to prescreen candidates before scheduling an in-person interview.
  • One-on-one interviews: One-on-one interviews involve just one interviewer and one interviewee.
  • Panel interviews: A group of interviewers, such as the hiring manager, supervisor and a member of HR, interview a single candidate.
  • Multiple interviews: Typically, employers continue to narrow down the candidate selection pool after each round of interviews.
  • Lunch interviews: Lunch interviews can be very effective when hiring passive candidates. Candidates aren’t expected to take time off work.

Read more: 11 Types of Interviews (and When They’re Best)

7 effective interviewing techniques

Here are seven interviewing techniques you can integrate into your current interview process.

1. Choose where to hold the interview

Location plays a significant role in the effectiveness of your interview. Finding a quiet place will allow you to connect with a candidate without distractions. Hold the interview in a place where you can maintain a private conversation. This way, the candidate won’t feel pressured by people nearby who may overhear them.

For businesses in traditional office spaces, reserve your interview room as soon as possible. If your company culture is more relaxed, you may wish to conduct the interview in a casual setting such as a lounge area. Retail shops and restaurants often interview candidates in a back office or breakroom.

A virtual interview can be a great option, as it allows the interviewer and interviewee to connect from anywhere in the world, as long as they have a stable internet connection. This can be especially useful for companies seeking to hire candidates from a diverse pool of locations. Virtual interviews also save time and money for both parties, as there is no need to travel. Indeed offers a virtual interview tool that is accessible in the Employer Dashboard.

Whether you choose an in-person or virtual interview, double-check that everything is in order before the interview takes place. This will ensure a smooth, effective interview experience and leave the candidate with a good impression of your company.

Related: How to Conduct a Successful Virtual Interview on Indeed

2. Prepare a list of interview questions in advance

Plan a list of interview questions to ask a candidate based on the job requirements and their resume or CV.

Here’s a look at some sample interview questions:

  • Why do you feel you’d be a good candidate for this position?
  • Tell me more about your current position and your responsibilities.
  • How would your current co-workers describe your workplace performance?
  • Why did you apply for this position?
  • What are your greatest strengths/weaknesses?

The number of interview questions you should prepare depends on your candidates’ stage in the interview process. Initial phone screens, for example, are often 20-30 minutes long, so it’s a good idea to prepare 5-10 questions. For longer in-person or video interviews, come up with 10-15 open-ended interview questions and expect to ask six or seven within an hour.

Be sure to include open-ended behavioral interview questions so candidates can elaborate on their skills and experience and display their ability to tackle challenging topics. These types of questions will also help you assess a candidate’s critical thinking and communication skills.

Sample of behavioral interview questions include:

  • Tell me about a specific challenge you have faced and how you overcame it.
  • Describe the steps you take when making workplace decisions.
  • How do you deal with criticism?
  • Tell me about a time you disagreed with a co-worker over a project and how you handled it.
  • Do you work well under pressure? Give examples.
  • How do you prioritize your workload? Give examples.

Other types of interview questions to consider asking include:

When you create new interview questions, always check with your legal department to ensure you’re not violating any compliance regulations.

Related: Understanding the STAR Interview Format

3. Carefully review the candidate’s resume and cover letter

Carefully reviewing the candidate’s resume will help you formulate the right questions, guide the conversation and gain better insight into how well the candidate’s skills and experience match the job duties. If you’re conducting an interview using the Indeed platform, you can review the candidate’s resume and take notes during the interview.

Encourage conversation by asking the candidate to explain and elaborate on the bullet points in their resume. You can also ask them to clarify any employment gaps, job hopping or unusual job titles.

4. Keep the interview conversational, not confrontational

Candidates are looking for the right company and job as much as you’re looking for the best candidate to hire. Make a positive impression by welcoming the candidate and treating the interview like a casual conversation.

Take the first 5-10 minutes at the start of the interview to build rapport with the candidate. Ask how their day is going, and offer a glass of water before starting.

You can also bring up anything you have in common with the candidate. Did you attend the same college? Do you have similar interests? Have you worked for the same company in the past?

An excellent way to encourage candidates to accept a job offer is to mention aspects of the company and work life that current employees find enjoyable. For example, if your company offers unique perks, such as on-site fitness classes or unlimited vacation, share these benefits during the interview process.

Interviews should be two-way streets, so leave enough time in the end for candidates to ask any questions. This can also reveal a candidate’s engagement and interest in the role and company.

Related: Reading Body Language in Interviews: Things to Look For

5. Explain the recruitment process and next steps

After the interview, let candidates know what they can expect. Explain your company’s hiring process, especially if it involves multiple rounds or conversations with other interviewers. Be clear about what the next steps will be. Should they expect a phone call or email? How long will it take for you to make a decision? When are you hoping to fill the position?

6. Consider holding a group interview

You may want to consider bringing in multiple candidates as part of a group interview. This interviewing technique is useful if you need to hire a relatively large number of people quickly and for similar roles.

Group interviews can also help you assess how a candidate interacts in a team environment. By providing a group of candidates with a test assignment, you can observe teamwork skills as well as how they apply their professional abilities to complete a task.

7. Follow up after the interview

If you decide not to move forward with a candidate, it’s important to let them know. Following up with candidates after the interview shows that you respect their time and effort, which can create a positive reputation for your organization.

Once you’ve made your decision, make a phone call to successful candidates to tell them the good news—whether you’re extending them an offer or scheduling the next round of interviews. Consider sending an email to unsuccessful candidates explaining what they did well and why you made your decision—and make sure to thank them for their time.

By using the right interview techniques, you can not only quickly find the right candidate for the job but also build a positive brand reputation that can improve candidates’ overall experiences. People talk about how they’re treated during the interview process, so make sure you’re giving them something great to talk about.

Read more: How to Conduct a Structured Interview

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Frequently asked questions about effective interviews

What is the STAR interview method?

The STAR method is a structured interview technique that helps you understand a candidate’s work style by following a sequential order of questions based on the acronym STAR, such as:

  • Situation: Ask the candidate to describe a specific work task that they were assigned to complete.
  • Task: Ask the candidate to explain the goal of the task.
  • Action: Ask the candidate to describe the specific actions they took to complete the task, any challenges they faced and how they overcame these challenges.
  • Results: Ask the candidate to explain in detail the outcome of their actions and if they were able to meet their goals.

What are three common approaches to conducting interviews?

Employers can take several approaches when conducting interviews. Here’s a look at the top three.

  • Structured: In a structured interview, every candidate is asked the exact same questions.
  • Semi-structured: With a semi-structured interview, the interviewer uses a prepared set of questions but also has the freedom to stray away from these questions to ask other relevant ones.
  • Unstructured: With an unstructured interview, the interviewer may have a list of prepared questions but doesn’t have to follow this list.

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