6 Things Every Recruiter Can Do to Make Interviews More Effective

July 5, 2018

No one really likes interviews (at least, most of us don’t). As a recruiter, you’re under pressure to quickly figure out if a candidate is the right person for the job. And as anyone who has interviewed for a new job knows, it’s extremely nerve-wracking and stressful from the candidate's perspective.

But, the good news is there are some simple things you can do to make the entire process better for everyone involved. Below, I’ve listed out six things every recruiter should do to make sure you are getting all the information you need to make an informed decision –– and also give the candidate a positive experience.

1. Learn as much as you can about the candidate before the interview

The first thing that’s essential for an effective job interview is that you come prepared. To do that, I recommend reading through the candidate’s LinkedIn profile and cover letter. You should also take notes on the areas that you have questions about or just want to remember when interview time comes. It’s important to email any paperwork needed to the candidate in advance. That way, you read up on any information that wasn’t on the profile or letter.

2. Ask the right questions (and prep them ahead of time)

By asking open-ended questions, you will better understand a candidate’s motivation for seeking a job change. Doing this also helps you match their skills, experience, and credentials with the best job opportunity.

In my experience, there is one question that reveals the real reason your candidate is even talking to you:

“What are the five things you’d change about your current job, if you were your boss?”

During an interview, most candidates provide the same answers when asked why they would consider a change. Some examples include: money, advancement, lack of communication or the latest technology, and commute time.

Here are some other, creative questions you can ask in your next interview to help learn about a candidate:

  • What was your favorite place of employment, and why?
  • What was your least favorite place of employment, and why?
  • Where have you interviewed in the past twelve months? What opportunities?
  • What offers have you received and rejected, and why?
  • What is your timing for starting a new job?

And here are some additional questions you can ask to reveal more about your candidate:

  • List the five major accomplishments and the impact they had on your past employers
  • What are the most important issues that need to be addressed in order for you to make a change now?
  • What are the main reasons you have changed jobs in the past?
  • What talents do you possess that are not being currently utilized?
  • What are some of the reasons to hire you over someone else?
  • Are there current areas of responsibility that you do not enjoy?
  • What would you like to do more of in your next job?

Lastly, take the time to explain to candidates that you will take your direction from them, not waste their time, and respect the confidentiality of their search.

3. Clarify answers a candidate gives with thoughtful follow-up questions

Let’s suppose you ask a question and a candidate gives a confusing answer or you simply want more information to make sure you understand an anecdote correctly. If so, ask for clarification through follow-up questions.

You may also need the candidate to define some of the words they’ve used in their resume. Some that you could flag for additional information include: opportunity, advancement, and communication. After all, your definition of these words could differ from that of your candidate’s, and it’s important that you’re getting the full picture of a person’s experience in this initial interview.

4. Practice being an active listener during interviews

Another crucial part of any successful job interview is making sure you’re really listening to what the candidate is saying. For example, it’s important to read between the lines when someone is speaking.

Plus, never assume that what your candidates have done in the past is what they want to do in the future. Determine the responsibilities of their past jobs that they enjoyed most and least so you understand where they are coming from as well as their priorities.

There are a few simple steps to becoming a more active listener. For instance, there are three parts to listening: knowing your purpose, being present, and avoiding pitfalls.

5. Express enthusiasm about the role you’re interviewing for and your company

Candidates prefer to work with someone they like, and your enthusiasm for your profession will endear you to those you bring in for interviews. If you’re enthusiastic at the interview’s start, have done your homework about the candidate, and exude passion for your company, a candidate will be highly appreciative and will feel more at ease during those crucial minutes you have together.

6. Stay in touch with the candidate you interview

Provide your candidates with updates and deliver good or bad news immediately about their spot in the hiring process. In this competitive job market, the recruiter with the best candidate who presents them the fastest wins.

To help achieve this, you may want to put aside some time each day to send updates to every candidate in the interview process. Doing so will make sure you have the time to focus on these tasks and be more efficient along the way.

If you’re in need of any email templates to use when following up with a candidate, check out these four helpful examples.

*Image by Christina Morillo

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