An Interviewer's Guide for Success

September 8, 2021 by Verified First

Back to School Blog Series An Interviewer's Guide for Success

Here at Verified First, we take being a screening partner seriously. We’ll support you through all of your background screening needs, and that process can start at the interviewing stage. We partner with some awesome HR technology platforms that offer exceptional interviewing tools and features, so we thought we would share the knowledge in an interviewer’s guide for success.

Conducting an interview doesn’t come naturally to all. Just as your applicants will prepare to speak with you, it’s important that you prepare for them in order to conduct an engaging and effective interview. Before you call in your first candidate, here are some tips to help you plan for hiring success. 

Ask the Right Questions

What’s an interview for besides getting to know someone? Questions are at the core of an interview. In order to get the answers you want and need, you have to ask the right questions. 

  • Start with their resume - Think of their resume as a roadmap. It’s a great place to start at or come back to if you get off topic. Asking them specific questions about their qualifications will give you a better understanding of their previous experience.
  • Keep in mind job-specific questions - While a candidate’s experience might be vast, you want to focus on experiences that pertains to the position. This would include asking questions based on the job description.
  • Consider situational questions - Ask the candidate questions about what they would do in job-related situations. Having a candidate think on their feet will help you determine their initial reactions to different circumstances. 
  • Feel out their personality - You’re hiring a new person to join your existing team. It’s important that their personality works well with the others. Experience is important, but a candidate with a good attitude will ensure a collaborative work environment.

Check Your Own Bias

All parties will enter an interview with their own biases (whether recognized or not). You want the best candidate for the job based on experience and quality of work. In order to set an example of diversity, equity, and inclusion within your organization, try answering these questions before meeting with candidates.

  • What biases do I have? Consider taking an Implicit Association Test such as the one from Project Implicit Health.
  • Am I making a quick decision? Biases can cause us to make quick decisions. One study found that an interviewer’s initial perceptions of a candidate’s character are made in the first 10 seconds of an interview. Take your time making your decision.
  • Am I hiring someone in my own image? It’s human nature to be drawn to the familiar. According to a study by Yale University, hiring committees are more likely to hire candidates similar to the recruiters. When hiring the familiar, however, you could miss out on incorporating diverse thinking and experience into your team.

Manage Your Time

In general, most interviews will establish a candidate’s nature in around one hour. However, this can drastically change with the interview type, position, and its seniority. There should be a natural flow to the interview that bridges one topic to the next. Knowing how to manage your time in an interview will maximize your acquired information.

A great way to manage your time is to stay on topic. You might find that you and a candidate have things outside of work in common. It’s great to establish these links, but you don’t want to dwell on them. Keep the nature of your questions focused on the position and try to steer the conversation back to the job if you get off track.

Prepare your questions beforehand, and try answering them yourself in order to gauge how long each question will take to answer. Keep your eye on the clock and have set goals for how long you’d like to spend on specific subjects. 

Prepare Your Answers 

Just as you’ll have questions for your candidates, your candidates will have questions for you — shocking, right?! They’ll be able to connect some dots based on the job description, but especially in initial interviews, they’re bound to have questions about the company in general. It’s important to provide your candidates with some time at the end of the interview to ask their questions about your company, including questions around:

  • Salary
  • Company Culture
  • Health benefits
  • PTO/sick leave
  • Position specific responsibilities
  • Management styles

Answers to questions around these topics will give your candidate a better understanding of not just your department but of the company as a whole. They’ll be able to decide if they’re a good fit for you just as you’re deciding if they’re a good fit for your team.

In conclusion

Preparing for an interview by considering our tips will better ensure you’re prepared to get the most out of your time with your candidates. Conducting an interview can be just as nerve wracking as being the one interviewed. Take a deep breath, and don’t panic. When it comes to being a successful interviewer, we’ve got your back! Interested in exploring an ATS, HRIS, or other hiring platforms to further support your interviewing needs? Take your pick from our partners here!

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About Verified First
Verified First is known for delivering streamlined background screening backed by the best client support, and for developing the easiest, fastest HR system integrations, for free. Our client support team is U.S.-based, answers calls in seconds, resulting in hundreds of positive testimonials and a 96% customer satisfaction. Verified First's patent-pending, award-winning integrations include over 100 applicant tracking systems, and provide clients a turn-key experience.

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