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10 Tips for Interviewers

Improving the Candidate Experience


Written by HRCap, Inc.

Updated August 29, 2023



10 Tips for Interviewers

Interviewing a candidate can be just as challenging as being interviewed. Many HR leaders and seasoned recruiters find it difficult to retain candidates in the current job market while hiring managers and business leaders continuously struggle to provide positive candidate experiences because of the lack of formal interview training. In fact, a Senior Partner and Chief Behavioral Scientist with New Frontier Search Company has discovered that less than 5% have had one hour of professional interview training in the past four years, while less than 3% of hiring managers pursue interview training on their own time.

10 Tips for Interviewers stats

As important as it is for a candidate to be prepared for the interview, it is just as important for hiring managers, recruiters, and business leaders to get the proper training and resources to be fair and compliant throughout the interview process so that they can attract the right talent.




10 Tips for Interviewing Job Candidates


To aid HR professionals, we have compiled a list of practical tips for interviewers on how to successfully conduct an interview.


1. Be Prepared


Review the candidate’s resume and cover letter before the interview. By knowing the candidate's experience, interviewers can adapt their questions toward specific experiences to gauge their skillset. Many candidates have shared that it felt as if the interviewers came to the interviews without having seen or reviewed the candidate's resumes. Proper preparation indicates to the candidate that the interviewer is professional, respectful, and interested in their candidacy.


When it is a virtual interview, interviewers should test their technology beforehand to ensure everything is working, whether it is the internet connection, the interview link, or audio and video.



2. Create a Structured Interview


Creating a structured interview will help interviewers to be objective in their decision-making. In certain cases, many hiring processes are initiated without a formal Job Description. Therefore, the hiring teams must align on the job scope and role expectations so that every interviewer can have the same understanding of the position and screen for the right skills and role.


With a clear JD, interviewers can then better prepare questions that are aligned with the job position and that test whether the candidate can perform the job effectively. Research shows that structured interviews are a good predictor of how a potential employee will perform (26%).



3. Review Questions for Relevance and Compliance


Interviewers should align with the team and hiring manager to see if the questions are probing for what they are looking for and align with the job expectations.


According to a 2015 CareerBuilder survey, at least 1 in 3 employers were unsure about the legality of certain interview questions, and 20% of hiring managers indicated they had unknowingly asked an illegal question. Therefore, it is essential to have HR review the questions to see if the questions comply with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission laws.



4. Be Aware of Biases and Prejudices


Identifying biases can help interviewers be more aware of prejudices and make better hiring decisions. Research from Indeed discovered that 37% of managers who attended a top-ranked college had a hiring preference for those who graduated from a prestigious institution. By doing this, managers may be neglecting a pool of highly qualified candidates who can perform the job even though they do not have a degree similar to their counterparts.


Oftentimes, many interviewers don’t even realize they are making biases (such as affect heuristics, affinity bias, ageism, attractiveness bias, attribution bias, confirmation bias, conformity bias, contrast bias, gender bias, halo effect, and horn effect), so some engage additional stakeholders in the interviewing process to help combat biases upfront.



5. Use a Scorecard and Take Notes


Scorecards can also reduce personal bias while interviewing. Interviewers can pinpoint and compare candidates’ abilities to perform specific job requirements with a scorecard as it also gives space to take notes that can be referred to when conferring with the recruiting team. Having a standard of how to score the candidates will make it easier for interviewers to make impartial, consistent, and ethical hiring decisions.



6. Create a Personable Environment


A warm greeting and a short introduction can help candidates feel welcomed. Interviewers can extend professional courtesies, such as giving a quick office tour or offering a beverage during an in-person interview. For virtual interviews, interviewers can prepare a comfortable environment with the proper camera set-up, lighting, and background to create fewer distractions and allow for a more seamless experience for interviewees.



7. Listen More, Talk Less


Although interviewers should provide as much context on the role and offer up insights on the organization, most of the interview should be spent screening candidate backgrounds, probing fit, and answering questions to deepen interest and build a connection with the candidate. Therefore, the candidate should be encouraged to talk as much as possible. When a candidate does not say much, interviewers should ask follow-up questions to encourage elaboration and further detail.



8. Be Ready to Answer Questions


Toward the end of the interview, interviewers should always leave sufficient time for candidates to ask questions. Interviews are a two-way process so interviewers should be ready to answer questions about the company, the team, the role, and even their own personal experience. This can be a great opportunity to shed more insight into the culture, values, and work environment. It also allows interviewers to build greater connections with the interviewees and deepen their interest.



9. Provide Timely Feedback


Whether a candidate is offered the position or not, interviewers should always provide timely feedback. A Robert Half survey shows that 57% of job seekers lose interest in a job when the hiring process is too long. In fact, hiring managers must always share interview results with the HR teams so recruiters know if they are hiring effectively and relay feedback to candidates to retain their interest and improve the hiring experience. According to LinkedIn, 94% of interviewees want to receive interview feedback, but only 41% have received interview feedback before.



10. Reflect to Improve


If multiple candidates drop out of the hiring process, interviewers should take a step back to reflect, review, and identify what areas need improvement. Hiring managers can ask candidates for feedback or even check anonymous company reviews, such as Glassdoor, to see how candidates feel about the interview process. Even if it is something outside of the interview process, interviewers should be aware of it and notify their direct report to address the issue.



Conclusion


As important as it is to follow these 10 tips for interviewers, interviewers must first gauge their genuine intent and motivation. If hiring managers and recruiters are interviewing to simply fill a position or see candidates as only headcount, then following the advice will seem tedious and unnecessary.


Therefore, interviewers should reflect and realize the importance of interviewing and recruiting the right fit and the impact it has on the company. Through a genuine understanding of the importance of hiring and building a team, HR leaders and recruiters will naturally take the proper steps to do everything that is necessary to interview a candidate well. With the right approach, passion, and mindset, anyone can be a great interviewer and add value to their company.



Sources: HRCap, Business Wire, CareerBuilder, HuntScanlon, LinkedIn, Robert Half, Wired



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