Insight Blog

10 Tips for Conducting Interviews

10 Tips for Conducting Interviews Anyone who interviews candidates understands that the approach may be unique to their organization and the individuals involved; however, following some standard best practices for conducting interviews can elevate the hiring process. Having interviewed thousands of candidates, observed interviews by clients, and consulted clients on the topic, Helbling search consultants have seen and learned a lot! They collaborated to generate a list of the top 10 tips for conducting interviews.

1.  Schedule smartly.
The hiring manager should conduct the initial interview, which may last 30-60 minutes. Schedule subsequent interviews with other members of the hiring team, allowing about one hour for each person on the team. When there are multiple interviewers, have them take turns asking questions.
2.  Learn about the candidate.
Prepare for an interview by researching a candidate online within legal parameters. Learning about the candidate can make for a more interesting and engaging interview.
3.  Be personable.
Take five to 10 minutes at the beginning of the interview to make “small talk” and create a comfortable environment. This will help the candidate relax, giving you a truer representation of his/her/their personality.
4.  Reserve judgement.
Try not to make any judgements for 30 minutes. Decisions made on first impressions tend to be based on personal biases, presentation, chemistry, and stereotypes. These initial opinions distract from learning about a candidate’s talents and abilities.
5.  Have an agenda...
Let the candidate know how the interview will be conducted and what you hope to accomplish during the discussion. Begin with an overview of the position and goals.
6.  ...but also, Allow for conversation.
Interviewing is a two-way street. Allow time to have an open dialogue and for the candidate to ask questions.
7.  Outline your hiring process.
Explain the hiring process and ideal timeframe to the candidate so he/she/they is clear on next steps and knows what to expect moving forward.
8.  Paint a picture. 
After the interview, offer to show candidates your work environment so they can picture themselves in the setting. Prepare information about the organization and the role for the candidate to take home and review.
9.  Capture feedback.
Develop a tool, such as a hiring rubric, to collect feedback from the hiring team about each candidate. A candidate should not lose out on an opportunity because of inconsistencies in capturing and reviewing answers.
10.  Maintain momentum and be decisive.
It is best to provide feedback to a candidate within one to two weeks of an interview. Keep in mind that prolonged decision timelines can negatively impact a candidate’s interest; however, most candidates are willing to be patient during a lengthy interview process provided they receive timely updates.

If your organization is in hiring mode and you have questions about interview or recruiting candidates, please contact us to connect with a Helbling search consultant.