Coordinating calls, preparing strong questions, jotting down notes on in-depth answers…the interview process can be a doozy — and not just for those on the job search! If it goes well, you and your candidate will be in perfect sync, with flowing conversations that lend fruitful insight into their experiences.
On the flip side, you might think you’re bringing in the perfect candidate on paper, only to find the interview full of awkward pauses, generic answers, or dull conversation.
The interview is a great way to figure out who has the skills, experience, and personality to do the job well. And the way you conduct interviews as an employer will go a long way in determining the success of your hiring process.
That’s why we’ve put together this complete guide to interviews, with everything you need to know about choosing the right approach, asking the right questions, and getting the information you need to make the best hiring decisions. So whether you’re a seasoned pro or just getting started, read on for our advice on how to make your next interview a success.
Best Interviewing Strategies for Hiring the Right Candidate
The goal of interviews is to get to know a candidate as quickly and effectively as possible. While there’s no one-size-fits-all interviewing strategy, there are several approaches you can use to help make the most of your interviews and hire the right person for the job.
- Give some background on the role and company: Before you even start the interview process, candidates should have a good understanding of what your company is about, what the job entails, and how it fits into the overall mission. Make sure you provide this information upfront so that interviews are a two-way street — both parties learning more about each other in an informed way.
- Ask open-ended questions: Open-ended questions are the key to a successful interview. For example, instead of asking, “Tell me about yourself,” you could say, “What experiences have helped shape your career thus far?” or, “Where do you see yourself in five years?” This type of question will give you more insight into who the candidate is and what their goals are for the role.
- Choose the right person to conduct interviews: Depending on your company size, interviews may be conducted by HR representatives, hiring managers, and even members of the team you’re interviewing for. It’s important to pick someone who can help evaluate interviewees accordingly and facilitate an insightful, productive conversation.
- Prepare and research in advance: Before interviewing, come up with a set of questions that will help you identify the best candidate. This could include technical or behavioral questions based on the job description and skills assessed in the resume. Additionally, have a list of criteria ready to compare candidates on their fit for the role.
- Allow candidates the chance to ask specific questions: Interviews should be as much of an opportunity for candidates to learn about the role and company as it is for you to assess their skills. Their questions will also give you additional insight into their thought process. Make sure you’re giving candidates a chance to ask questions, so they can get clarity on any points that may not have been covered yet.
- Keep questions consistent: Every candidate should be asked at least a handful of the same questions. This will help you make an apples-to-apples comparison between candidates and ultimately decide who’s best for the job.
- Follow up after the interview: Keep communication lines open and candidates in the loop with a clear timeline after the interview is finished. This can really help your company stand out among top talent, since 75% of candidates say they’ve never been contacted again after an interview.
5 Common Interviewing Methods to Use at Your Company
With interviews, it’s not just about asking the right questions. Beyond just video interviews, face-to-face interviews, or phone interviews, you’ll have to decide how to want to structure the conversation. Here are some common methods and types of interviews you can adopt:
- One-on-one interviews: One-on-one interviews are the most common method used to assess candidates. These interviews give you a chance to learn more about each person’s background, experience, and technical capabilities by asking questions directly, as well as their technical capabilities for the role in question.
- Panel interviews: In a panel interview, multiple representatives from your organization ask questions to a job candidate at once. This can be useful for assessing candidates on more complex skills and gaining a broader understanding of how they would fit into your team.
- Group interviews: With group interviews, several candidates are interviewed at once in order to assess their interpersonal, communication, and problem-solving skills. This method is usually used when multiple positions are open at the same time. These interviews are particularly useful for positions that require working in teams or with multiple stakeholders.
- Behavioral interviews: Behavioral interviews involve asking questions about a candidate’s past experiences and how they handled specific situations in the workplace. This helps you get an idea of how well the candidate can handle similar expectations if hired for the job.
- Competency-based interviews: Competency-based interviews focus on a candidate’s soft skills. They’re similar to behavior interviews, and the questions will revolve around specific times when they had to use skills like leadership or teamwork so you can assess those traits.
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Questions to Ask Candidates During Interviews
As an employer, it’s important to ask the right questions during the hiring process so that you can get a clear picture of who the candidate is and how they might fit into a new job with your organization. These job interview questions and answers can help you better evaluate candidates:
What challenges have you faced in your previous roles?
When asking a candidate about the challenges they faced in their last job, there are a few different types of answers you might expect to hear. Depending on their experience level, you may get responses ranging from specific projects or assignments they’ve dealt with, to more general accounts of how they handle difficult situations.
What do you know about our company and why do you feel like this is the right role for you?
This is a great question to ask during interviews to get a sense of how closely the candidate has researched your company, their understanding of the role, and their motivation for applying. It’s also important to find out if they have any long-term goals or ambitions that would be supported by working with you.
How would you approach a project or scenario like this?
This question helps you get an understanding of how the candidate would approach a particular situation if they were hired. It also gives you insight into the type of problem-solving skills they have, their level of experience in tackling similar tasks, and what kind of solutions they’d use.
How would your coworkers describe you?
This question will give you insight into how the candidate’s peers view them and what kind of relationships they have in the workplace. It can also give you a sense of how well they work with others and whether their personality would fit in with your team.
Common Interviewing Pitfalls to Avoid
Interviews can be tricky, and it’s easy to make mistakes if you don’t prepare properly. Here are some common interviewing pitfalls to avoid:
- Being too rigid: Good interviews involve a lot of back-and-forth discussion, and being too rigid with your questions can be off-putting for candidates and make them feel like they don’t have space to talk.
- Running too long or too short: Interviews should be long enough to give you the information you need to make an informed decision but not so long that it becomes tedious for the interviewee. It’s important to stick to a timeline and take into account how much time candidates may have allocated for interviews.
- Focusing too much on technical questions: It’s important to assess technical skills, but focusing too much on them can leave you without a sense of a candidate’s soft skills. Make sure you ask behavioral questions as well in order to get an understanding of their communication style and working personality.
Clearly Communicate Your Benefits and Culture to Entice Candidates
The interview process is not just about assessing a candidate’s skills and potential fit for the role — it’s also an opportunity to sell them on why working with your organization will be great.
Benefits packages, total rewards, and employer branding are all important pieces of any talent acquisition strategy. Throughout the process, showcase your own programs and culture to candidates and answer questions about salary requirements and perks when they ask.
A robust, flexible employee wellness program is one way to entice candidates to accept your job offer after a successful interview process. These fringe benefits can help them stay active and prioritize their entire wellbeing. Talk to one of our specialists to learn more about how to design a package to attract the best talent!
- What every company needs to know about hiring right now: Key learnings from the 2022 Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report. (2022). Greenhouse. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://www.greenhouse.com/blog/key-learnings-from-the-2022-greenhouse-candidate-experience-report
- 1-on-1 Interviews. North Dakota State University Career Advising Center. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://career-advising.ndsu.edu/resources/1-on-1-interviews/
- What is a Panel Interview? WayUp. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://www.wayup.com/guide/what-is-a-panel-interview/
- When would an employer use a group interview technique? Society for Human Resource Management. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/hr-qa/pages/whenwouldanemployeruseagroupinterviewtechnique.aspx
- Elliott, Jessica. (July 27, 2022). What Is Behavioral Interviewing? And How to Use It to Hire for Your Business. U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://www.uschamber.com/co/run/human-resources/behavioral-interviewing
- Doyle, Alison. (December 12, 2022). Competency-Based Interview Questions. The Balance. Retrieved January 25, 2023 from https://www.thebalancemoney.com/competency-based-interview-questions-2061195
The Gympass Editorial Team empowers HR leaders to support worker wellbeing. Our original research, trend analyses, and helpful how-tos provide the tools they need to improve workforce wellness in today's fast-shifting professional landscape.