Recruitment and selection interview essential tips – for interviewers
1. You must makes notes of the questions you intend to ask – have a structured interview plan otherwise you’ll forget.
2. Decide the essential things you need to learn and prepare questions to probe them.
3. Plan the environment – privacy, no interruptions, ensure the interviewee is looked after while they wait.
4. Arrange the seating in an informal relaxed way. Don’t sit behind a desk directly facing the interviewee – sit around a coffee table or meeting room table.
5. Clear your desk, apart from what you need for the interview, so it shows you’ve prepared and are organised, which shows you respect the situation and the interviewee.
6. Put the interviewee at ease – it’s stressful for them, so don’t make it any worse.
7. Begin by explaining clearly and concisely the general details of the organisation and the role.
8. Ask open-ended questions – how, why, tell me, what, (and to a lesser extent where, when, which) to get the interviewee talking.
9. Make sure the interviewee does 90% of the talking.
10. Use ‘How?’ and ‘What?’ questions to prompt examples and get to the real motives and feelings. ‘Why?’ questions place more pressure on people because they suggest that justification or defence is required. ‘Why?’ questions asked in succession will probe and drill down to root causes and feelings, but use with care as this is a high-pressure form of questioning and will not allow sensitive or nervous people to show you how good they are. Think about how your questions will make the interviewee feel. Your aim and responsibility as an interviewer is to understand the other person – not to intimidate, which does not facilitate understanding.
11. High pressure causes people to clam up and rarely exposes hidden issues – calm, relaxed, gentle, clever questions are far more revealing.
12. Probe the cv/resume/application form to clarify any unclear points.
13. For any position above first-line jobs, you may consider using some form of psychometric test, although these can be very expensive and some have dubious scientific validity. Have the results available for the interview, so you can discuss them with the interviewee. Always give people the results of their tests. Position the test as a helpful discussion point, not the deciding factor. Take care when giving the test to explain and reassure. Ensure the test is done on your premises – not sent in the post.
Give interviewees opportunities to ask their own questions. Questions asked by interviewees are usually very revealing. They also help good candidates to demonstrate their worth, especially if the interviewer has not asked great questions or there is a feeling that a person has for any reason not had the chance to show their real capability and potential.
Finally, always bear in mind that the interview as a selection method will always have its limitations.You will be recruiting the people who are good candidates and not the ones who are god at the job! Consider using assessment centres involving a wide range of tests and exercises to assess their skills.