Interviews are not necessarily something candidates or hiring managers eagerly look forward to. Often times we associate the interview with the candidate coming extremely prepared to discuss why they would make a good fit for the position. However, the responsibility of a good interview does not lie solely with the applicant; it depends heavily on the hiring manager engaging the candidate to determine whether their experience is commiserate with the position and if a good cultural fit exists. Although this is easier said than done it is critical that hiring managers make it a priority during the interview process to exercise superior interviewing skills, whether it is for one position or twenty, hiring authorities should ensure that they are prepared to participate in an effective interview. Navigating the interview territory can be tedious for both candidates and hiring authorities, but by avoiding some common pitfalls while leading the interview it will put both individuals at ease and open the door for a more meaningful interview.

The Novice

If you’re a first time interviewer you may be just as nervous as the candidate coming to speak with you, if not more. Not to worry! Although your first time interviewing a candidate may seem intimidating you can easily channel those nerves to host a more productive interview. Prior to interviewing a candidate take some time to meet with members of your organization that have experience interviewing candidates. Schedule time to meet with your boss or colleagues who can provide greater insight on how they lead the interview process.

Remember, you have control over the direction the interview goes. Take this opportunity to reflect back on some of your own interviews, both good and bad, and determine what the interviewer did, what kind of questions did they ask, how did they make you feel, etc. so you may incorporate similar characteristics into your interview.

The Veteran

If you are a seasoned veteran who has interviewed a number of candidates you may find that you are either redundant with your interview process, or you still stumble at times, finding that you still didn’t get all of the information you wanted from the candidate at the close of the interview. Rather than continue the course, take the opportunity to reference circumstances where you held a successful interview. And by success, what type of questions did you ask that elicited the information from the candidate that you needed to make a hiring decision.

After determining what type of questions you need to ask and how you need to ask them, your next step is to examine how you direct the flow of the interview process. Are you rigid and step-by-step, or are you more flexible and take opportunities to discuss certain accomplishments or previous projects with the candidate at greater length? Both pros and cons are associated with both types of interviewing styles, but some instances may call for a specific style or even the blending of the two types, if not more.Regardless of what type of interview style you choose to identify yourself with it is important that you take an active role during the interview process. When a hiring authority becomes genuinely engaged with the candidate and maximizes the time spent with the applicant it eases the innate anxiety interviews carry for everyone.

Considering the magnitude interviews involve it is well worth the effort to spend some time improving your interview skills as a hiring authority so you are better equipped to make your crucial hiring decisions.