How to Assemble an Effective Interview

There’s no “one size fits all” mold for conducting job interviews. Every industry and every job within those industries has its own qualifications and requirements. Still, there are a few ways to ensure your interview process contains the elements needed to separate strong and weak candidates.

Trust the interviewer

One often overlooked aspect of an interview is whether or not the person conducting it is qualified. This isn’t to say that you need to start interviewing you interviewers. Rather, assembling a panel of workers who offer diverse perspectives can lead to a broader understanding of whether or not a candidate is right for the opening.

For example, a wholesale makeup distributor is looking for a new warehouse manager because the old manager is transferring. The problem is the person in charge of hiring decisions deals much more with the product and customer side of the business than the behind-the-scenes dirty work. Therefore, this person might ask the previous warehouse manager as well as someone in HR to sit in on the interview and perhaps participate.

Each person on the panel can then judge each interviewee based on their own knowledge and experience with the company, making for a more informed decision. The HR manager may love a candidate’s people skills, but the previous warehouse manager thinks a lack of forklift experience could lead to problems. Second and even third opinions can offer insight that might not be apparent with a one-on-one interview.

Throw out some curveballs

If nailing the interview is the most important part of landing a job, then you shouldn’t make it too easy for candidates to supply formulaic and often rehearsed answers. That’s why it’s important to include a few questions aimed at taking the interviewee out of his or her comfort zone. Asking an out of place question allows the interviewer to see how a candidate is able to improvise, which is often an important part of any job.

If you’d prefer not to ask a random question to keep candidates on their toes, putting through a creative test or exercise might help you reach the candid response you are looking for. For instance, the makeup company looking for someone to work in sales might put candidates through an improvisation selling exercise. But because job seekers will be prepared to talk about the key product, in this case makeup, it would be wise to choose something out of the ordinary.

Give your interviewee a child’s toy or a bag of trail mix and then ask for their pitch. These kinds of tests, which have no “right” answers, put candidates on the spot and display the candidate’s problem solving skills.

Offer interview training

Just as there are strategies to impressing your interviewer, there are also ways to improve the way you interview. You might find it advantageous to require those making hiring decisions to read interview books in preparation or attend training sessions led by HR professionals or consultants.

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