Tips on how to interview like a pro

There are almost as many interviewing styles as there are interviewers. But regardless of how you do it, there are key steps you should take to get the most out of each interview.

First, understand the focus of your interview. If you are one of a few people that the candidate will meet, it’s important that each interviewer have a plan for each stage, so that you’re not all asking the same questions.

Remember, an interview is a two-way street. The candidate is also interviewing you. If you’re disorganized or repetitive, you’re sending the wrong message.

In a interview, everyone has a role to play

Let the HR person cover company background and other HR-related items.

The hiring manager should review the job requirements and technical abilities. They should be able to talk about what a typical day looks like and what would be expected of them.

The hiring manager is also responsible for determining cultural fit, so they need to probe on that.

The interviews should be organized and logical as the process proceeds closer to an offer.  Take notes, you are bound to forget which candidates said what.

Friendly or formal, know what you want from the interview

Before going into the interview, you should have a checklist of items to be covered. Whether it’s in your head or preferably on paper, know ahead of time what you want before the meeting is over.

Ideally, the conversation should flow in an interview, but use your framework of topics to be covered to make sure you get the information you need.

And remember, you should be leading the conversation, but not taking up all the time. Your goal is to get the candidate to talk, to open up in response to your questions.

Don’t over-promise if you can’t deliver

If you aren’t in the position to hand them an offer on the spot, don’t give them false expectations. Although you want to encourage promising candidates, stick to the process, and don’t jump steps. If they are one of the top potential candidates, you can let them know, but be clear that you have further internal meetings before coming to a final decision.

You want the interview to be a positive experience. The goal of every interview should be that the potential candidate feels good about the interview and that they’ve learned what the job was about so that they can evaluate whether this job is for them.

Remember, serious and formal can come off as distant and intimidating. You can be professional without being cold and distant.

Be forthcoming about the realities of the position

If you’re the last interview, make sure the candidate understands the challenges of the role so they know what they’re walking into. There’s no sense hiding things that they will discover in their first week on the job. Your ideal candidate should know about, and look forward to tackling those challenges. If it’s not what they want to do, it’s best they know ahead of time.

Last interviewing tips…

Don’t schedule too many interviews back to back. Talking and listening and paying attention in back to back interviews can be exhausting.  For the candidate’s sake don’t choose 4 p.m. on a Friday. You’ll be ready for the weekend and it might show. That’s not fair to either of you.

Need help with effective interviewing?

Call Ambit Search at 416.703.5050 and ask for one of our partners: Joanne Elek, Cathy Hampson or Steve Rosen.

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