We’ve written before about how to feel confident as a candidate going into an interview (read those interview tips for project managers here). But what if you are sitting on the other side of the table? Conducting interviews – even if you’ve done dozens before – can still be a stressful experience.
Take the strain out of your interview day with these 7 confidence-boosting tips.
- Know Who You Are Meeting
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Interviews go smoothly when you know what to expect.
Pull up their details the day before you are due to meet your candidates and make sure you know who is coming in when.
If your local rules allow it, you might want to look them up on social media, especially if they have included their profile details on their resumé.
- Prep Your Questions
What are you going to talk about?
While it’s good to have some flexibility in the conversation, it’s important to ask all candidates similar questions to allow you to directly compare their skills and experience. It makes it easier for you to see who could be a great fit for your organization.
With that in mind, create a list of questions to use in the interview, along with follow-up questions to guide the discussion. These are handy if a candidate stalls or doesn’t seem to know what to say. You can offer prompts to help them think about suitable examples to illustrate their skills. They’ll appreciate that too – don’t think that you are the only nervous person in the room!
- Organize Your Paperwork
If you have asked them to submit examples, references or supporting material, organize all your records in advance, so you have a folder per candidate. If you want these on paper, print them out the day before and put them in wallet folders. Use one per candidate, so you can take the correct folder with you when you go to meet your interviewee.
Oh, and don’t forget to label them clearly. It’s amazing how similar folders of paper can look, and it won’t take much to pick up the wrong file in a rush. That will knock your confidence in the interview as you won’t have their application to refer to, so get organized in advance.
- Plan The Logistics
Does the reception team know that you are expecting candidates? Are they briefed on what to do when they arrive? Have you booked out the right meeting rooms and organized refreshments?
If you have several interviewers operating on the same day you could easily have multiple candidates in your waiting area at the same time. That might be fine, or you might prefer to keep them separate somehow.
Let your meeters and greeters know what you want them to do when candidates arrive. For example, if they normally send people straight up you might want to brief them that you’ll come down to collect your visitors this time. If you have multiple reception sites it is worth letting the others know that you are expecting interview candidates as well – it’s common for candidates to turn up at the wrong building!
Having plans for these eventualities makes for a smoother experience for your candidate too, leaving a much better impression.
- Get Expert Help
Working with a recruitment consultancy can help boost your confidence with interviewing, and in some cases, they can sit on the panel with you, or even carry out the interviews on your behalf. This can be a fantastic time saver to create a shortlist of talented prospective hires and will save you having to do first round or telephone interviews yourself.
As long as you have briefed the consultancy on what you are looking for, they will be able to sift through the applications, leaving you with only the best-fit candidates to meet yourself.
Even if you are interviewing without an agency expert, it never hurts to bring in a senior member of your team or another manager. It can be helpful to have that second opinion at the end of the day when you come to make a decision about who should get the job.
If you don’t have a lot of experience with interviewing, you might want to practice what you’re going to say.
You don’t have to role play it with a colleague (unless you really want to). Think through how you would describe the job, the team and the company. You don’t want your answers to sound scripted, but equally you do want to have some idea of what you are going to say.
Knowing that you can open the conversation strongly and can set the tone for the interview will give you confidence to go with the flow afterwards.
- Prepare For Questions
You should give your interviewees time at the end of their interview to ask you questions. Think about what you would ask if you were coming for this role.
Candidates won’t be trying to trip you up, but they could have questions about job prospects, career paths, training, salary, and benefits. You can either choose to cover the points you think might come up in the main discussion or leave them until the questions and see if your candidates raise them. Either way, you’ll want to know what you can say at this point related to pay and benefits, so check with your recruitment agency or HR team.
Even if you’ve done lots of interviews in your career, it never hurts to review your approach to make sure that the experience is as stress-free as possible for you and your candidates.
Triumph Strategic Consulting can help you find the right candidates for your next vacancy, and help you all the way through the hiring process, including with interviewing. Get in touch with us and let’s talk!