Tips and techniques for interviewers

Published by
On 23-Jun-22

Tips and techniques for interviewers Wondering the best way to conduct an interview? We’ve prepared a list of interview techniques for employers so you can bring the best out of your candidates.
As a hiring manager, part of your role is to bring the best out of your interviewees. Conducting a successful interview doesn’t need to be complicated. Whether you’re conducting a first, final, panel or competency-based interview, you can set the right tone by following these simple interviewer techniques.
Practical considerations of interviewing
Taking the time to prepare in advance is key to conducting successful interviews. Depending on your company, sometimes it’s necessary to start the preparations weeks in advance. Take these points into consideration prior to the interview.
Checklist for interviewers
Send the candidate an interview confirmation email. This should include parking details, address, where to go on arrival, job description and any documentation they need to bring
Check if the candidate needs any alterations for the interview or has any accessibility requirements
Book a private/quiet room for the interview (both face to face and telephone/video)
Print the candidate’s CV/portfolio
Prepare any forms the candidate needs to complete on arrival
Note down anything of interest from CV and any additional details you’ll need to find out
Meet the candidate promptly; offer them a drink
Follow a set interview structure to allow for fair comparison against other candidates

The skills you need to be a successful interviewer
Communication – having the ability to make yourself understood
Listening – being able to pick out key points
Interpersonal – making the candidate feel at ease and engaged
Analytical – assessing strengths and weaknesses from their CV and interview
In-depth knowledge of the role – being able to answer all questions and convey the role realistically
Understanding of team/business strategy – knowing whether or not the candidate fits with the wider business aims and team
Awareness of internal bias – approaching the interview without prejudice
Consider undertaking unconscious bias training if offered by your employer
Emotional intelligence – being able to read between the lines and pick up on signalling
Empathy – being able to relate to your candidate’s ideas and experiences
Articulation – making yourself understood using professional and approachable language

Interviewer techniques
Interviews are a two-way process that require effort from both the interviewee and interviewer. An effective interviewer will have a good awareness of their role in the process. Below are several interviewing techniques to help you engage your candidates.
Form a framework for your interview questions to make sure they cover the key aspects of the job description. The framework should incorporate both hard and soft skills
Remain open-minded and reserve judgement about the candidate and their experience
Approach the interview with optimism
Avoid asking questions in an ambiguous way that could confuse the candidate
Ask open questions to avoid ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answers
Remember to highlight the benefits of working at your organisation – the candidate has their own decision to make too
Don’t ask leading questions e.g. “You’re competitive, aren’t you?”
Be engaging – use eye contact, talk with your hands, smile
Do your best to put the candidate at ease; see past any immediate nerves
Take control and realign the conversation if the candidate starts to deviate
Avoid taking too many notes – write shorthand instead
Be prepared to rephrase questions if the candidate is struggling to understand
Be an active listener by using body language and responding to verbal cues
Give feedback throughout e.g. “That experience sounds really relevant”
Try to find the balance between being friendly whilst remaining professional
Ask the candidate to elaborate on any points that are unclear or concerning
Don’t strive for perfectionism. All candidates will have areas they can develop
Give the candidate the opportunity to ask their own questions

If you like the candidate, show them you’re positive about their interview. But don’t over promise or make an offer on the spot – give yourself time to consider and compare against other candidates

Don’t openly discuss other interviews with your candidate

To avoid giving the candidate false hope, talk hypothetically about the ‘successful candidate’ e.g. “The successful candidate would be responsible for our social strategy”
Interview format and structure

Always make sure your interviews follow a set format. You can start the interview by explaining the format to the candidate so they know what to expect.
Introduce yourself and your role
Overview of the team and business – structure, divisions, projects, vision, values
Reminder of the key role requirements and basic responsibilities
Your questions
Their questions

Keep to the timeframe (typically 45 minutes to an hour is the optimum length)

Thank them for their time and give a timeline for when they can expect to hear back – commit to this

Give the candidate feedback whether they’ve been successful or not. Provide details of any other relevant job opportunities within your business if you think they’d be a good fit for another team

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