As a recruiter, I meet a lot of people of different backgrounds and industries. I learn about job requirements and what employers have to offer to the job market. And I also learn about the help employers need when it comes to aspects of hiring. One aspect is the job interview. There are business owners who have never done a job interview with someone or who have done job interviews without having interviewing skills. Today, I want to share five tips with you that will turn your job interviews into effective sessions with job candidates.
Tip 1: Questions
The job interview allows for both sides to ask questions. Preparing the questions is very important. Study the job candidate’s resume and, if you required them with the job application, their answers to the screening questions. Are there components that need more detail and clarity? Then this provides good reason for follow-up questions. Also, based on how the candidate answers your questions during the interview, pick up on their answer and ask another follow-up question. It is like peeling an onion where you go through each layer to get to the core.
Avoid asking questions where the candidate must answer with yes or no. Asking open-ended questions allows the candidate to elaborate on topics and to showcase their ability to communicate and to articulate themselves. As the candidate speaks, you can observe their speaking skills and evaluate if what they are saying is of substance.
Tip 2: Body Language
A virtual or in-person interview is a great opportunity to observe the candidate’s body language. Pay attention if the candidate can make and maintain eye contact with you. Do they appear relaxed or tense with legs constantly moving? Do the candidates show their hands instead of keeping them in their pockets? Are their arms open or on the table instead of crossed in front of them? Do their facial expressions signal alertness and confidence or boredom and insecurity?
And besides the body language, there is also their overall appearance. Are they showing up for their interview chewing gum? Are their grooming and condition of clothing appropriate for the occasion? Do they make a professional impression on you?
Tip 3: Communication Skills
Although we live in a digital world, verbal communication is essential. If the position requires a bilingual candidate and you are bilingual as well, conduct the interview in both languages – on the condition that no one else is in the interview group who may not be bilingual, and the interview is conducted in English out of courtesy. In that case, you could ask one or two brief questions at the end of the interview just to test if the candidate is truly bilingual as they say.
The tone of their voice should be just right, not too loud so you would have to cover your ears, and not too quiet so you can barely hear them. The speed of their voice should have a good tempo, neither too fast so it is hard to follow them, nor too slow so it gets boring to listen to them.
Observe the candidate’s word choices and vocabulary. Are they using courtesy words such as “please” and “thank you”? Courtesy words are indicative of a friendly and polite demeanor, which is appreciated by everyone who they interact with. For positions with customer interaction, you want to make sure that the candidate uses proper enunciation of words so they can be understood by everyone when they speak. Using slang is inappropriate for customer interaction.
Pay attention how the candidate answers your questions. Are they cutting you off before you get to finish your question? Are they dodging your question? Are they long-winded and take a long time before finally getting to the point of their answer? Clear and concise answers to your questions is what you are looking for in a candidate, especially for candidates who want to be considered for a leadership, customer service or sales position.
Tip 4: Attitude
As the saying goes, “You can teach skills, but you cannot teach attitude.” A person either has a positive attitude or not. Look for the candidate’s demeanor, energy level, friendliness, and how often they smile. Pay attention to the candidate and see if they greet other employees or customers walking by on the way from the reception desk to the interview room. Is the candidate respectful towards you? Is the candidate interrupting you when you speak? A positive attitude is contagious. It nurtures a healthy team environment and is appreciated by all team members and customers, ultimately leading to increased team productivity and to growing the company’s bottom line.
Tip 5: Level of Engagement
It is common for the interviewer to ask most of the questions; however, there should be ample opportunity for the job candidate to ask questions as well about the position and the company. Make time for questions at the beginning of the interview and at the end. It makes a positive impression when the candidate is asking questions, because it means that they are curious and want to be engaged in the process.
Pay attention to the kind of questions they ask. Are they picking up on something that you mentioned earlier in the interview? That would be indicative of good listening skills and paying attention. Has the candidate done some homework prior to the interview and researched your company? Some candidates will impress you with the level of information that they have gathered such as when your company was founded, your line of products and services or your latest blog that was posted on your website.
The candidate should at the very least ask you about the next steps in the interview process. And last, but not least – a very nice gesture and sign of engagement is when the candidate sends you an email or letter after the interview, thanking you for the opportunity to interview with you.
All these 5 tips combined make an excellent recipe for an effective job interview. Whether you are a beginner in job interviewing or a pro, you may find that some of the things mentioned above inspire you to dig deeper into details. There is always something new to learn for all of us. I hope I could bring you closer to or provide affirmation in your current job interviewing skills so that you can master your next job interviews effectively.