Job interviews are fascinating but also very tense. Both for the recruiter and the candidate. Each interview is limited in time, but still decisive for whether or not the candidate will be withheld. How do you ask the right questions and take the appropriate steps?
With the following tips in mind, you will start your job interview armed.
A fixed conversation structure will serve as support during the interview
As is the case for other professional discussions it helps to have a fixed structure during a job interview. At least you can be certain that you cover all the topics that need to be discussed and it will also make it easier to compare candidates afterwards.
Opening: put the candidate at ease by introducing yourself. Ask some easy questions as an icebreaker.
Information about the organisation and the position: explain your company and its activities, provide more information about the job and the team.
Information about the candidate: don’t ask questions about facts that are included in the candidate’s résumé but ask targeted questions which provide you with a real insight into the candidate’s experience, knowledge and motivation. A good model for this is the STAR method.
Questions by the candidate: give the candidate the opportunity to ask some questions so he/she can make an informed choice for your company.
- Closer: thank the candidate for his/her time and inform him or her about the next steps of the recruitment process. Give an indication about when to expect an answer.
The STAR method helps you find out what experience the candidate really has
STAR is an acronym for Situation, Task, Action and Result. This method is aimed at predicting future behaviour based on past behaviour. The interviewer will specifically ask for examples of actual behaviour that are related to the job profile.
So take the time to pinpoint what exactly it is you are looking for and prepare the right open-ended questions.
In the case of a management assistant for which diplomacy is one of the key skills you can ask the following STAR questions about how the assistant copes with conflicts.
- Situation: explain the situation and the conflict you experienced.
- Task: what were your tasks and responsibilities at the time?
- Activities: what exactly did you say and/or do? How did you cope with this?
- Result: what happened? What did you learn from it and in hindsight, what would you do differently?
Every applicant is a potential ambassador for your company
Always keep in mind that every candidate you interview also forms an idea of your company. Try to have an easy-going and relaxed discussion in which you treat the candidate respectfully and like an equal. Give fair feedback and avoid personal judgments. Even though the candidate is not eligible for the job everyone benefits from seeing the candidate leave with a good feeling.
Have you ever had to interview candidates? Which top tips can you share with other HR Professionals?
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