10 Steps to Conducting a Successful Interview

Posted by

Lynne Callister

on 03 Apr 2023

Interviews are a tool used for everything from recruitment to new client take-on, supplier selection, gauging opinions and talking to the media.

10 Steps to Conducting a Successful Interview

So it is surprising how little time we spend trying to understand the nature of the communication in an interview. Taking it a step further, we could use that understanding to run interviews more effectively to achieve the desired objectives. This approach makes for more successful interviews.

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Top 10 tips for effective interviews

1. Identify the purpose

Remember, holding interviews is not just to recruit new talent. They may be used to find new clients or suppliers, conduct disciplinary hearings, gauge opinions, gather evidence, talk to the media, etc.

2. Plan and prepare

Plan and make preparations in advance. Think about who should attend, where to hold the interview, any legal issues (access, equality), the structure or format (is there anything candidates need to prepare and bring to the interview?), what questions you should ask, housekeeping and welfare, etc.

3. Be careful with personal data

When handling personal data, it is important to comply with GDPR. You will need candidates to consent to the company processing sensitive data such as disability and biometric information. Furthermore, consider the process for data storage and ensure access to this data is limited to those involved in the recruitment process.

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4. Set ground rules, if appropriate

Communicate what provisions are available (such as access, auditory, etc.), timings (how long should it take?), mobile phones and smoking rules, refreshments, directions, etc.

5. Use appropriate body language throughout the interview

For example, smiling, nodding, maintaining good eye contact, gestures, and mirroring. It is vital for creating rapport and establishing relationships.

6. Use different questioning techniques

To get the information you need, you can employ efficient interview techniques. Questions can maintain control, clarify information, show empathy, or cross-check facts. Use a mix of open and closed questions for best results. Asking a few follow-up questions is also a good way to understand the interviewee's way of thinking.

7. Make sure your interviews are free from discrimination

You can do this by using objective criteria, making decisions solely on merit, not making assumptions, and avoiding stereotypes and unconscious bias. It is essential to review your interview questions to ensure fairness and consistency.

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8. Give others ample opportunity to speak

Remember that interviews are a two-way process; use active listening techniques to maintain focus. Are you really listening, or are you just waiting to speak? You can't gauge responses if you can't recall what they said.

9. Assess the potential

A long-term vision is the best approach to a recruitment interview. Identify signs of curiosity, willingness to learn and determination. These traits indicate that the individual could not just be a fit for the short term but could fulfil the role down the line.

10. Conclude interviews properly

You can achieve this simply by summarising, explaining the next steps, rolling out follow-up procedures, and completing any documentation.

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