You know you’ve conducted a great interview when the applicant feels that you really “get” them and you leave the room understanding his or her career goals and approach to work. Not every interview will be ideal, but there are steps you can take to increase the odds.
Know the resume before the interview starts.
Recruiters work at a hectic pace. When time crunches hit, studying the resume is often the step that doesn’t get done. Developing a standardized pre-interview review process may help you get it done quickly and reduce the temptation to skip it.
- Take a first pass through the resume with no attempt to dive into detail. What jumps out at you? Do successive positions point to a clear career path or is it difficult to understand how one position relates to the next? Are there employment gaps? Circle each area that leaves you with a question.
- Now take a second run through. This time, write out questions that will encourage the applicant to open up and help you understand. At this point, you may feel that some of your questions have been answered. Don’t drop them. Often initial questions are the result of your recruiter intuition advising you to probe.
Interviewing on purpose.
Enter the interview room with a clear intention to understand. Try to put any job openings out of your mind so that you’re not meeting for the purposes of deciding yes/no. That can get in the way. Stay with your questions long enough to get second and third responses. Often, successive answers provide the most valuable detail. Don’t feel you have to fill every gap in the conversation with another question. Allow the candidate a little ‘white space’ to more fully develop the topic.
Do you have additional techniques you’d like to share?