During the Interview

Put the applicant at ease. Extend professional courtesy

Greet the applicant as they enter your facility, have them guided to the room where the interview will take place, offer a refreshment (water is perfectly acceptable and suggested). Smile and be warm but keep small talk general so that you do not inadvertently venture into any protected areas. Remember you are trying to get to know the applicant and how they will fit into the organization not to trip them up. Interviews are already stressful events, do your best to put the candidate at ease to gain the best understanding of them.

Tell candidate about the job

Go over the description of the position in question. Be clear about essential function and the expectations related to the position. . Ask if they could provide references and get them to sign a simple statement giving permission to contact references should they be selected for the job.

Go through the prepared questions and listen to the answers

Go through your prepared questions but avoid an interrogation style. Try instead to keep the tone professional but conversational. Listen, be focused and make eye contact. Be cautious about note taking, which can make you appear inattentive.

Ask follow-up questions

Candidates study, rehearse and prepare for the typical questions you are bound to ask. To delve beyond rehearsed responses, ask follow-up questions that will get them to think on the spot, to elaborate and to be more spontaneous in their responses. Keeping things conversational in tone will foster more honesty and fewer scripted responses.

Aim for the 80/20 paradigm

Many HR experts point to the 80/20 paradigm as a good rule of thumb for conducting the interview: that is, the candidate speaks for 80% of the interview session and the Interviewer for 20% of the time. While this is not a hard and fast rule, it only makes sense that the candidate should be doing most of the talking and the interviewer much less. Focus on asking the questions, follow ups and then listening and interpreting the answers.

Invite candidate to ask questions

Just as you are assessing the candidate for the right fit, they are assessing you. Give them time to ask questions. You can sometimes learn a lot about them by the questions they ask. Are they more focused on benefits and pay or on work duties, advancement opportunity, and challenges? Be prepared for questions about what the next step in the process is.

Close by thanking the candidate

Be sure to thank the candidate for their interest in the job and your organization and for their time. Explain the next steps in the process.

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