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December 10, 2017

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Interviewing Best Practices to Ensure You Hire the Best Possible Candidate

by Karen Warthen - Consulting Director at The HR Team

If writing job ads is an art, consider interviewing skills a style choice.Everybody has one, whether or not they realize it! Interviewers need to be able to compare candidates and process apples to apples.

Even if your style choice is conversational, make sure every candidate interview covers the same areas of focus.

To accurately compare candidates’ skills and experience, interviewers should consistently ask each candidate similar questions so hiring managers can objectively compare candidate A versus candidate B (and hopefully C and D and E). Relying on past experience still counts, but come prepared with a plan and list of specific questions.

The interview process should include:

  • Welcoming the applicant

  • Providing a brief outline of the interview

  • Asking questions and listening

  • Providing candidates an opportunity to ask questions

  • Closing the interview with an outline of next steps (give candidates an idea of the hiring decision timeline)

Always document candidate answers. Taking notes throughout the process is especially helpful when comparing candidate answers to make a hiring decision. Using a team or pair of interviewers can make it easier to collect information if one interviewer focuses on taking notes while the other(s) ask/answer questions. Asking behavioral-based interview questions and questions that cannot be answered with a simple yes or no, is the key to hiring the best employees. For more details about how and what to ask candidates, read Back to Basics: How to Conduct an Effective Interview.

Consider the scope of an interview and try not to drift too far off course. Interviewers must ensure their questions comply with state and federal discrimination laws. Topics like personal family life, birthplace, and seemingly casual details are illegal to talk about, and they’re not particularly informative for employers who need to assess skills. It may seem trivial, but it’s a common problem companies and interviewees face . For more details, read What Can I Ask During an Employment Interview?

For best results, consider working with a qualified HR expert before conducting interviews. They can help you establish useful guidelines and a strategy for walking new interviewers through key topics.

Karen Warthen brings a diverse depth of knowledge and experience to The HR Team in her leadership role as Consulting Director. She is an expert at designing and implementing strategic human resources plans customized to suit her clients' unique needs and goals.