Learn (Skill Development)

Our page, Interview Skills describes what you need to achieve success when being interviewed for a job. Here we look at the skills you need to be an effective interviewer, an important skill-set when attempting to find the best possible candidate for a job. This page provides a framework for the recruiting process, from preparation, interviewing, reviewing and decision making.

Good preparation for an interview is absolutely key. Exactly what you need to do will vary depending on your role in the interview.
The recruiting manager, the person who is going to be managing the person recruited on a day-to-day basis, and therefore probably has the best understanding of the job requirements;
There to give a second opinion of the candidate. Such interviewers usually, but not always, have some knowledge of the job requirements.
An independent assessor or HR representative, there to manage the process and ensure that it is fair for all candidates. They are unlikely to have detailed knowledge of the job.

Perhaps the most important aspect of successful interviewing is knowing what you're looking for in a candidate.
Make sure that you have a detailed job description and person specification that sets out what you really want from the person. Try to avoid jargon. If you haven't written the particulars yourself, speak to the person who did and make sure you understand exactly what they meant.

Read the applications for all the candidates that you will be interviewing.
Ideally, you should score each candidate against the criteria in the person specification. Scores out of five are usual, where five is excellent and one is 'does not show this at all'.
If you're holding a panel interview, the panel needs to meet beforehand and discuss interview tactics.
Ideally, the interviewers (or panel) should carry out the short-listing for the interview, comparing the individual members' scores for each candidate and agreeing on a panel score.
The panel then need to agree what questions should be asked and who is going to ask which questions, or cover which areas. It's also helpful to discuss which areas are most important in case some areas have to be left unexamined.
Finally, the panel needs to agree what a 'good' answer to any particular question will look like, and how far they are prepared to probe to try to obtain one.
A key skill for interviewers is to be able to build rapport swiftly and help candidates feel relaxed.
When you meet the candidates make eye contact, offer a handshake and smile at them. Understand that they are probably feeling quite nervous.
Everyone is nervous in an interview so candidates will be better able to show you what they can do if you can help them to relax.
Your role, as the interviewer, is not to trip up the candidates. You're there to find out if they can do the job or not.

If you have asked the candidates to prepare a presentation, start with that.
You can then ask them for more details about aspects of their presentation that you found either interesting or concerning. Set aside at least 10 minutes for questioning after the presentation.
Candidates can also be asked to do a written test. It is helpful to have the results of the tests in front of you during the interview so that you can ask them about anything that emerges.

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