Tips for conducting a job interview to bring out the best in candidates

How to conduct a job interview that will bring out the best in potential candidates

Whether you are a hiring manager for a large corporation or the designated interviewer for a small business, you know that finding the best people to join your company is a top priority. Therefore, when bringing in someone in for an interview, you pay close attention to their performance to see if they will be the right fit for your needs.

But, are you also paying attention to your own interview conduct to help bring out the best in potential candidates? Are there areas in which you could improve your technique so that you don’t inadvertently lose what could be a great candidate for your company? 

By making your interviews the best they can be, you will have a better shot at bringing out the best in the candidates you meet. Here are seven tips to consider before you conduct your next interview.


1. Prepare the candidate before they arrive

Everyone likes to be prepared, so it is helpful to give your candidate a head’s up if they will be meeting with more than one person and/or if the interview will be very lengthy. This will allow them to set aside enough time, research other managers in the company, and bring enough copies of their resume.

Also, try not to spring any surprises on your candidate while they are there, like asking them to take a skills test on Excel or your database entry system without giving them time to prepare. 


2. Look over their resume before the interview

Reviewing a candidate’s resume before you meet them is par for the course. Instead of trying to scan their job history while they are in the room, prep yourself first: make notes about any questions you want to ask or areas of the resume you want to discuss in greater detail.


3. Try to be on time (or close to it)

Whether you are meeting in your office, or conducting a virtual interview, try to be punctual. We all know that prior meetings can run long and traffic can be unpredictable, so just do your best and notify a candidate if you are running late. They will (and should!) do the same. 


4. Ask the types of questions you’d like to be asked

We all want employees who can solve problems and think quickly, but put yourself in your candidate’s shoes and avoid questions that are unfairly difficult to answer or have a “gotcha” element to them. Instead, focus on the contents of their resume and let your candidates tell you about problems they have solved or challenges they have overcome in the workplace.

On the flip side, while it’s terrific to find common ground with a candidate (You also like to ice fish??), make sure you don’t spend the entire interview on an off-topic subject. Later, if they’re hired, you’ll have plenty of time to hear about that incredible fishing trip!


5. Be prepared to talk to them about your company’s COVID-19 protocol 

In these difficult times, explaining your company’s COVID-19 safety protocols, including sick leave policy, remote working, and social distancing protocol, is now becoming a required topic of conversation with every candidate. 


6. Give them time to ask you questions

Keep an eye on the time so that your candidate gets a few minutes at the end of the interview to ask you any questions they may have. Remember, as much as you are determining if the candidate is a fit for your job and company, the candidate is trying to determine if the company, culture, and position are a fit for them as well.


7. Don’t lead candidates on

Though it may be tempting to lay out the red carpet for a candidate you like and bring them on a tour of your facility as you introduce them to everyone you pass, we recommend you hold back until you are ready to make a job offer. Instead, end your interview with a thank you for their time and let them know you and your team will be evaluating all the candidates over the next week or so. Unless you are the one making the final decision, try not to make promises for a second interview or tell them they are “perfect” for the job until you’ve had a chance to talk to everyone involved in the hire.

And if this candidate is not ideal for the position, it’s beneficial to close the loop and let them know that you appreciate their interest but have decided to go with a different candidate. These calls are always difficult to make, but they demonstrate a level of professionalism and respect that is good for your company to maintain. 

Finally, if you are working with South Shore Staffing, please let us know how our candidate has done in an interview. Your feedback helps us narrow down the perfect candidate for you, while also giving us valuable insight about someone we are sending out on interviews to represent our company.


If you would like to talk to South Shore Staffing to help your company with its hiring needs, please contact us at 781-575-0500 or fill out our requisition form.