How to Do an Interview for a Job
Supervisors and managers often have to interview people for open jobs in their companies. Even though it’s important to know the right questions to ask in an interview, there are other things you should know before you do one.
In this article, we’ll talk about how to prepare for and run an interview to find the best person for the job.
Why do employers interview people?
Interviews help employers find out more about the skills and personalities of people they think would be a good fit for their company based on their resumes and applications. Interviews are one of the most important parts of hiring someone because they help you figure out how well a candidate’s skills match the needs of your company.
Getting ready for an interview
Getting ready for an interview can be just as important for the person being interviewed as it is for the person being interviewed. Taking steps to get ready for the interview before you do it will help you feel at ease during the interview and make sure you talk about important topics and questions. Here are some things you should do to get ready for an interview:
- Figure out what you want from a candidate.
- Find out about the candidate.
- You should also expect the candidate to have looked into you or the company.
- Know how to ask the right questions.
1. Figure out what you want from a candidate.
Even though the job description probably lists the skills a candidate must have to do well in the role, there are other things to think about to make sure you hire the best person for the job and your company. It’s important to think about how a candidate’s personal traits will affect the culture of your company. Keeping a good company culture is important because it affects how happy, productive, and efficient employees are. For example, if a job requires a lot of interaction with people, you might want to hire someone who is more outgoing.
2. Find out about the candidate
You can find out more about the candidate before the interview so that you will be better prepared. The first thing you should do is carefully read through their whole resume and write down the information you think is most important to their qualifications for this job. You can also contact the people they gave you as references before the interview.
Lastly, you can look at the candidate’s social media sites to see what public information they share, but keep an open mind about anything you see that doesn’t fit with your own beliefs. The personal views of a well-qualified candidate shouldn’t affect whether or not they get the job, unless those views are important for the job.
3. You should expect the candidate to have done research on you or the company
Most likely, the candidate will have done research on the company and maybe even on you to help them feel more at ease during the interview. In addition to the information your company gave in the original job posting, a candidate may have spent a lot of time on the company’s website and social media pages looking for information that will help them feel more confident during the interview. During the interview, it should become clear who has taken the time to do this extra research.
4. Know how to ask the right questions
Before you do the interview, it’s a good idea to think about the questions you want to ask. This will give you time to make sure your questions cover everything you want to talk about and give you time to talk to your human resources department if you aren’t sure what you can legally ask. During an interview, you shouldn’t talk about protected classes like race, religion, sexual orientation, pregnancy and number of children, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship, and marital status.
How to have an interview for a job
Follow these steps to make sure your interview leads to a natural, honest conversation and helps you find the best person for the job:
- Start with something friendly.
- Next, complete introductions.
- Prepare people for the interview.
- Talk to the person during the interview.
- Use the candidate’s answers to find out important things.
- Talk about your own ideas about how to lead.
- Let the person running for office ask questions.
- Talk about what to do next, and then end the interview.
1. Start with something friendly.
Start the interview with something friendly and light. This will help both you and the candidate feel more at ease. For example, you can start the conversation by saying how nice the day is or that you hope the candidate will have no trouble finding the office. When you start an interview with a light, friendly question, it can make the rest of the conversation flow more naturally.
2. Next, complete introductions
The next step is to introduce yourself and anyone else from the organization who will be with you during the interview. Tell the candidate what each person does for the company and how it relates to the job opening. Most likely, the candidate will answer with a short summary of who they are.
For example, “My name is Sarah Johnston, and I’m the sales floor supervisor. Nathaniel Gomez, who is in charge of sales on the floor, will also be there. If you get this job, you would report directly to me, but Nathaniel wants everyone to feel comfortable talking to him about their needs or concerns.
This step can also be used to talk about the company. By telling the candidates about the company, you show them what the company stands for and what the right person for the job should be focused on. For example, “We are a well-established, family-owned business that makes a better product than our competitors. The job we’re looking to fill is that of a “social content writer.” We want the right person to be focused on telling our customers that we are family-owned and care about our customers.
3. Say what you expect from the interview
Setting the agenda and expectations for the interview should make the candidate feel more at ease and better prepared for how it will go. This can also help you and the other person stay on topic and keep the conversation from going in a different direction. For example, “We’d like to start by learning more about you and what you can bring to our company in this position. Then we’ll talk about our individual beliefs and what we want in a new team member.”
4. Talk to the person during the interview.
When you use a conversational tone to talk about the things you want to talk about during the interview instead of just asking questions and waiting for answers, you make a stronger connection with the person you are interviewing. This could give you a better idea of who they are and what makes them a good candidate. Instead of asking the standard questions that most interviewers ask, use your conversation to get the same information while encouraging the candidate to answer honestly instead of with a prepared answer.
For example, instead of asking “what was your most difficult job and why,” you could say, “I saw on your resume that you’ve worked as a cold-call telemarketer. I can understand how hard that must have been.” When you do this, the candidate is more likely to agree or disagree with you and give you more information to back up their answer.
5. Use the candidate’s answers to learn important things.
Most interview questions can be asked in a way that makes the person being interviewed think there is no one right or wrong answer. This makes them more likely to give honest answers. By doing this, the candidate is more likely to give you more information that will help you decide if they are right for the job.
For example, if you find out that a candidate learned Microsoft Excel on their own, it could mean that they need more training if you offer them the job. But the same information can also show how willing the candidate is to learn new skills that will help them achieve their goals.
During the question-and-answer part of an interview, the most important thing to do is get enough information to figure out if the person being interviewed is right for the job. Your questions should help you figure out how the candidate will use their experiences and skills to make the job and your organization better.
6. Talk about your own ideas about how to lead.
If the candidate’s answers to your questions make you think they’d be a good fit for the job and your company’s culture, you also need to figure out if they’d be a good fit for your team and company. Here is where you will talk about the values of your company and how you lead to see if they match up with what the candidate needs to be successful.
For example, if your idea of good leadership is that a mistake is only a mistake if people don’t learn from it, telling the candidate this gives them an idea of how you manage. The same goes for talking about your personal management style, how you and the company feel about employees coming up with new ideas and suggestions for how to improve the department or organization, and how you see the responsibilities of their role changing.
7. Let the person running for office ask questions.
The next step in the interview process is for the candidate to be given a chance to ask any questions they still have about the job or the company. Typical questions a candidate might ask are about how they can move up in the company, what the dress code is, what the company’s culture is like, if the job will require overtime, questions about something you talked about earlier in the interview, and when you plan to make a decision.
8. Talk about what will happen next and end the interview.
To wrap up the interview, tell the candidate what to expect in the next steps. For example, if the candidate needs to come back for a second interview, let them know that they need to come back and that you will be in touch with them in a few days to set up the second interview. If you think the person you interviewed is a good candidate but you still need to do more interviews, let them know when and how they can expect to hear from you.
For example, “it seems like you would be a great fit for this job. We have a few more interviews planned for this week, and then early next week we will be done with our review. We will call or email you by next Wednesday to let you know if you got the job.
If you already know at the end of the interview that you won’t be hiring the person, tell them so they can keep looking for jobs that are a better fit. For instance, you can say, “Thank you so much for your time and interest today. We really need someone with more direct experience with social media for this job, but since you have a background in accounting, we’ll keep your information in case a job opens up in that department.”
No matter what you decide during the interview or what comes next, you should thank the candidate for their time and tell them it was a pleasure to meet them. Stand up, shake the candidate’s hand, and walk them to the door while going over your plan for the next steps.