After sifting through tonnes of CVs and cover letters and coming up with a shortlist of “interesting” candidates, the next natural step in the recruitment process is the job interview. This is perhaps the most important step when hiring as it lets you interact with the candidates whose skills and backgrounds seem like a good match. From these interactions, you canaccurately gauge whether a candidate will be a good fit or not.

But conducting candidate interviews is a lot more complicated than asking a series of questions. You will need to gather all the information you require to decide whether a candidate will be a great hire while still presenting a positive image of the company. Any candidate worth their salt will use the opportunity to “interview” you too, so it’s wise to put your best foot forward.

To help you get the most out of candidate interviews, Staff Advert has put together a list of 5 tips that you can use to make the process a lot more effective.

  1. Prepare questions in advance. Before meeting with the candidates, find out exactly what you are looking for in the new hire so that you ask the right questions when conducting the Since skills and other qualifications have already been covered by the CV, what you will be looking for are the candidate’s attributes.
    For inspiration on the kind of attributes you should look for, look at your top performers. What are their similarities? What were their accomplishments prior to joining your organisation? What type of roles did they hold? Answers to these questions will assist you to create a criteria and help you craft relevant questions.
  1. Reduce stress. The many unknowns of job interviews make them very stressful to candidates – and stressed people usually don’t perform well. Take pre-emptive measures to reduce the candidate’s anxiety to see their true potential. You can do this by informing candidates of the topics you would like to discuss so that they can prepare, explaining your company’s dress code among other things. Make candidates feel comfortable to enable you to have a productive, professional conversation.
  1. Involve others.It’s always a good idea to seek the counsel of others when making an important decision. So ask a few trusted colleagues to come and help you with the interview. Your interview panel should have about three people and should ideally have a peer interviewer to give team members a say on who gets the job. This way the team will be more invested in the hire and more likely to help the person succeed. 
  1. Ask for real solutions.Instead of asking questions that could elicit deceitful answers from the candidate, try to discern how well the person can handle real situations. Explain a problem that your team is currently dealing with or has previously dealt with and tell the candidate to walk you through their solution for the issue. You can also ask the candidate to explain to you how they dealt with a particular challenge in their previous job to gauge their attributes. 
  1. Sell the job. If the interview goes well and you believe that the candidate could be right for the position, spend some time during the interview selling the organisation and the role. Make sure to do this during the second half of the interview as doing it too soon could affect your objectivity. Tell them why you think they would be a great fit for the position.You can also ask them if they would like to meet any team member and arrange the meeting. Peers can help a lot in convincing a candidate to accept your job offer as they give an honest picture of what it’s like to work in the organisation. 

Remember, cultural fit although important should not be obsessed over during the interview. People can adjust, so the most important thing you should look for is the candidate’s ability to adjust to new environments.