Learning proper interviewer techniques should be vital to your recruitment strategy. Having untrained interviewers can cost you reliable information and insights and lead to bad hiring decisions further down the track. The flip side is candidates rightly see interviews as a chance for them to assess an organization and a bad interview experience can cost you some top performers.

Today we’re going to break it down to basics and go through the four parts that make up and interview – and what you need to know and master!

  1. Open Interview
  2. Build Rapport
  3. Ask Questions
  4. Close Interview

Open the Interview

When you open an interview, your goals here are to:

  • Greet and welcome
  • Explain purpose of interview
  • Explain the structure of interview

Having a warm welcome yet clearly setting the tone and structure for the rest of the interview helps guide the both of you. Letting them know what’s ahead will make them more comfortable yet aware that you are in control.

Build Rapport

Building rapport throughout the interview is critical. Your goal here is to create an environment where candidates feel comfortable giving honest answers. You should also be trying to leave a favourable impression that they want to work for you and that they were respected and heard regardless of final hiring decision

Here’s a few techniques to build rapport:

  • Greet the candidate – Introduce yourself and express appreciation for the applicant’s time.
  • Introduce the interview – Explain the interview process you will follow.
  • Make eye contact – Too little can signify lack of interest; too much eye contact can create discomfort.
  • Use the candidate’s first name – Occasionally, address the candidate by his or her first name when asking questions or giving information.
  • Share your personal experiences – Help candidates feel more comfortable sharing similar information with you.
  • Use humor – Humor is a great “ice breaker” and eases the formality of the interview situation.
  • Take notes – Send the message to the candidate that what he or she is saying is relevant and important.

Ask Questions

This is the part that most interviewers focus on but don’t plan well enough ahead. Your questions should be planned out in advance to make sure you are gathering enough of the right kind of information to further your hiring process. Each candidate should be asked the same set of questions against the same predetermined benchmark.

We found a nice list of The Eight Types of Interview Questions from www.collegegrad.com

  1. Credential verification questions
  2. Experience verification questions
  3. Opinion questions
  4. Dumb questions
  5. Math questions
  6. Case questions
  7. Behavioral questions
  8. Competency questions

Read the full list with examples and descriptions here.

Don’t forget about the questions you CAN’T ask! It’s illegal to ask applicants to divulge information that has no bearing on the ability to perform the functions of the job.  For example:

  • National Origin/Citizenship/Religion
  • Age
  • Marital/Family Status, Gender
  • Affiliations
  • Race/Ethnicity
  • Arrest Record
  • Disabilities

Close Interview

When closing the interview, it’s again important to reinforce rapport and goodwill towards your employer brand. This is also the chance to answer any candidate questions. Be honest and positive in your responses but don’t try to oversell the job or company. Explain the next steps in the process to manage their expectations and then thank them for their time.

Remember to give yourself a break between interviews if you are doing multiple in one day. Try your best to clear your mind and focus on the benchmarks you had set for the role to keep as unbiased as possible.