How To Conduct An Interview: Best Practices to Improve Hiring


Liz Strikwerda

Content strategist and corporate blogger (2000+ posts). Her work has been featured on G2's Learning Hub, Human Resources Today, CloserIQ, Better Buys and over 500 business websites. She plays bluegrass mandolin and enjoys hiking in the red rock wilderness of southern Utah. Connect with me on LinkedIn

Why learn how to conduct an interview? It’s simple. You will find better employees. Quality employees help you execute your business objectives.

Let’s discuss interview best practices. Notice that steps 1-6 all take place before the candidate arrives. The things you do to prepare are just as important as what you do when you are conducting the interview.

Know The Job Description

If you wrote the job description, you already have a general understanding. But dig deeper. Talk to managers about skills that may not be readily apparent. Ask successful employees what helps them. Update the job description as you gain a better understanding.

Create a Structured Interview

Using unstructured interviews is a common mistakes made by new business owners. Most do it by default, not realizing that there is a better way. Some employers think structured interviews are only for high-level positions. Others believe they can pick a good employee with a ‘gut feeling.’

It’s not hard to create structured interviews. We cover it in depth in this article: Structured Interview Questions: The Ultimate Interview Guide. Follow the steps to create structured interviews for your hiring team.

A structured interview includes standardized scoring. This helps you fairly evaluate each candidate. If there are several decision makers involved, each person should rate the applicant with the same method.

Structured interviews improve hiring for every type of company. Large and small. Entry-level and senior positions.

Part of your structured interview script is an explanation of what your company is all about. Describe your company’s mission and values. Explain the organizational structure.

When you have created your structured interview script, memorize it as best as you can. You have your script to refer to, but learn it well enough to maintain eye contact with the applicant. Practice the script out loud.

Learn Hiring Laws

It’s easy to innocently commit a hiring violation. Business owners and hiring managers do it all the time. Protect your company by learning the do’s and don’ts of legal hiring.

If your company has a legal team, make sure they sign off on your questions.

Review The Candidate’s Application

Don’t go into the interview cold. If you are familiar with the applicant’s background, you will have a context for understanding their answers. It will also help you maintain eye contact and stay on script.

Schedule The Interview Location in Advance

You don’t want to wander around looking  for an open conference room with the applicant in tow. It reflects poorly on your company. It makes the applicant nervous. It’s a bad start all around. If possible, choose a private room with comfortable chairs. Glass-walled fishbowl conference rooms don’t put either of you at ease.

If it’s a video interview, make sure all equipment is ready to go. You don’t want to spend the first ten minutes figuring it out. Nothing diminishes your confidence (and corporate image) like the inability to use technology.

Schedule Enough Time

You don’t want to be rushed. Schedule enough time for the candidate to answer each question in depth. Add a 15 minute buffer between interviews.

Be a Good Communicator

The previous steps were preparatory. Now you are ready for prime time.

  • Turn off your phone or have your assistant hold your calls.
  • Speak slowly, maintain eye contact.
  • Listen intently.
  • Reject any urge to vary from the script.

Any business owner can follow these steps to improve their interviews.

Recruiting Software Helps You Conduct Better Interviews

SwipeClock ApplicantStack provides recruiting software that helps you improve your interviewing process. ApplicantStack Recruit helps you write job descriptions, post to job boards, create structured interviews, and track applicants. The result? You will find and hire quality employees faster.

You can try our recruiting software for free. Visit ApplicantStack Recruit to sign up.

Simplify HR management today.

Simplify HR management today.

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