Interviewing is a crucial part of the recruiting process. To be a good interviewer, you have to be prepared, ask the right questions, listen carefully, and evaluate the candidate to see if they're the right fit for your company.
Read our guidelines below on how to conduct a good interview and find answers to commonly asked questions.
How to be a Good Interviewer:
1. Be prepared.
It's important to prepare thoroughly before interviewing a potential employee so that you don't come across as disorganized and unprofessional. Be sure to brush up on the interviewee's skills and employment history beforehand by reading their resume, and print out a copy for reference during the interview.
2. Choose your questions wisely.
Create a list of questions that are tailored to the role you are hiring for, such as questions relating to skills, job knowledge, and work history. You should also include behavioral and situational questions to give you a good idea of how the candidate handles challenging situations. Preparing a list will also ensure that you ask each candidate similar questions.
3. Have an interview structure.
An unstructured interview can cause you to lose track of the interview and end up wasting your and the candidate's time. The best way to avoid this is to set out a structure during your interview prep; for example, make the first part of the interview a brief introduction and description of the main goals of the position and what your company hopes to achieve, followed by the interview questions. Lastly, give the interviewee an opportunity to ask a few questions of their own.
4. Take notes and listen carefully.
Notetaking is essential in any interview. It will help you keep track of how each candidate performed and allow you to compare candidates once the interview stage is over. Be sure to clear your mind and focus on what the candidate says so that you can note any positive or negative attributes. You might also want to use a scorecard to assess the candidate's answers effectively.
How to Improve as an Interviewer:
Discover your biases.
We all have subconscious biases that we may or may not be aware of. Our biases can affect the way we judge candidates during the interview processes. To find out what your biases are so that they won't cloud your judgment, consider taking a test, such as Harvard's famous Implicit Association Test.
Interview with co-workers.
If you don't feel comfortable interviewing candidates by yourself, you can have a co-worker assist you in the process. This way, you can divide the interview into parts and share questions. This will give both of you the opportunity to pause and listen while someone else is speaking.
Be willing to go off-script.
Having a list of questions to follow is great, but try to be conversational during the interview so that the candidate is able to share more about their past experiences and the skills that they have developed. Sometimes this just means asking follow-up or exploratory questions to draw out more information.
If you'd like to know more about how to be a good interviewer, be sure to read our article on How to Interview Candidates Effectively.
What are the qualities of a good interviewer?
- Able to control emotions.
- Friendly demeanor.
- Ability to recognize talent.
- Knowledge of the job in question.
- Experience managing people.
- Conversational skills.
How can I become an interviewer?
You should have strong active listening and conversational skills, as well as a sound knowledge of the job and experience in managing people.
For more information on how to be a good interviewer, see our detailed guide.
How do I make my interviewee feel comfortable?
- Be nice and friendly.
- Offer them a drink.
- Don't be late.
- Have a comfortable and inviting location.
- Introduce the company and the role.
- Don't be unfair and expect too much of the candidate.
What should an interviewer do during an interview?
- Be prepared.
- Choose your questions wisely.
- Have an interview structure.
- Take notes and listen carefully.
For more information, read our guidelines on how to conduct a good interview.
What makes a good interview?
Aside from the preparation that goes into interviewing potential employees, keep in mind that you should also make the interviewee feel as relaxed as possible to elicit the best response from them. A good interviewer is welcoming, conversational, and considerate. To break the ice, tell the candidate a little about yourself or talk about a light-hearted topic before you get down to business.
What are the benefits of interviews?
Holding interviews allows you to get a full sense of what the candidate is actually like. In face-to-face interviews, you can get a better impression of the candidate's personality, behavior, and poise in the context of discussing business and the type of work the candidate needs to be able to perform.
What do candidates look for in an interview?
Candidates look for the following in their interviews and from their interviewers:
- Insight into the company culture.
- Your full attention on them.
- Respect for their time.
How should the interviewer prepare for the interview?
- Read through candidates' CVs and make note of key points to elaborate on during the interview.
- Prepare your interview questions.
- Be prepared to answer questions that candidates' may ask about the position and organization.
- Schedule enough time for the interview and try and stick to the time-limit (roughly 15 - 30 minutes).
- Know your company's goals and culture and be prepared to "sell" it to the candidate.
What questions should you ask the interviewee?
There is a variety of interview question types, including:
How many questions should you ask in an interview?
For first-round interviews, the ideal number is three to five questions, depending on the position.
What are some good interview questions to ask candidates?
- Can you tell me about yourself?
- Why would you like to work for us?
- How would you describe your working style?
- What are your strengths?
- What is your biggest weakness?
- Can you tell me about a time when you overcame a challenge?
- Why do you want this job?
- Why would you like to work for us?
- Why are you leaving your current job?
- Why should we hire you?
- What achievement are you most proud of?
What are good second-interview questions to ask candidates?
Depending on your organization's structure, you may need to ask a candidate to return for a second interview to help you make a final decision. The first interview would have provided a short-list of candidates and basic insight into their work history and skills. A second interview is more detailed and tests a candidate's soft skills, problem-solving ability, and competence for the job.
Check out our guide on Second Interview Questions for ideas about what questions to ask in a follow-up interview.