While there is ample information available about how to prepare to give an interview, little is available on how to get better at taking interviews. Hiring managers often assume they are good at interviewing because they’ve followed the same process for years. However, it is essential to evolve and update old talent acquisition methods.
In 2021, quality of hires was the most important metric recruiters used to track success, higher than retention and the time taken to hire candidates. Judging a candidate well is at the crux of quality hiring. Therefore, doing away with inefficient hiring methods like snap judgment is essential.
Snap judgments — otherwise known as reactive thinking — are likely to be based on a slew of cognitive biases: from the halo effect to the confirmation bias. This method also takes away the essence of interviews, i.e., to help recruiters delve into candidates' personalities, experiences, and skills — beyond paper qualifications could ever go. And as with any skill, interviewing, too, comes with a learning curve.
Read on to learn about the importance of being a good interviewer and how you can improve your skills.
Why is it important to be a good interviewer?
Before diving into improving your interviewing skills, it’s crucial to understand why it’s vital to master the interviewing process.
● It allows you to evaluate which candidates have the required skills for the role.
● It helps you decide if the candidate aligns with the company’s values.
● Hiring and training an employee involves a lot of time and resources. According to the US Department of Labor, the average cost of a bad hiring decision is 30% of the employee’s first year salary. However, by picking the right candidate, you can be confident that the selected individual is worth the investment.
● A positive interviewing experience increases the chances that the selected candidate accepts the job offer.
● It helps you use recruitment resources effectively, including optimizing time spent interviewing candidates.
How to improve your interviewing skills?
Learning how to interview is a skill you need to learn. It helps you hire good employees, saves your company’s resources, and ultimately helps your firm grow. Here are three tips that can help you upgrade your interviewing skills:
1. Get better at preparing
The Harvard Business Review found that a lack of adequate preparation was the greatest mistake interviewers make. Often, an interviewer will launch into a discussion without planning where to carry the conversation, only to discover that their preparation was incomplete midway through the interview. However, you can circumvent this frustrating outcome by spending some time planning which points to cover during the interview.
Indicate in writing, ahead of time, the points you would like to go over during the interview. You can also share the question list with your candidates to give them time to put together strong answers rather than being caught off-guard during the interview.
Of course, you can always assess how well a candidate thinks on their feet by throwing a few extra questions during the interview. However, sharing the significant bulk of questions you plan on asking can help you screen for conscientious candidates who came prepared with good answers.
Additionally, check off the following preparation steps before conducting an interview:
● Go through the candidate’s resume and print a copy for your reference during the interview process.
● Read the work samples submitted by the candidate.
● Revisit the job description you shared so you can discuss the requirements of the role with the interviewee carefully.
● Create a set of questions you want to ask your candidate. Ensure you are prepared to take notes during the interview.
2. Be methodical and avoid unstructured interviewing
In a world of informal workspaces and remote hiring, unstructured interviews are used to find candidates who ‘just feel like the right fit.’ Unfortunately, although free-flowing conversation can put nervous interviewees at ease, this method is prone to errors in judgment as:
● Each interviewer does not ask different candidates the same questions; hence, the assessment is not uniform.
● Questions asked may not necessarily be about the qualifications required for the job and might sideline the role completely.
● Before interviewing candidates, interviewers haven't aligned on what constitutes a good or bad answer.
A structured interview strategy provides a solution to the above problems. It requires interviewers to pre-determine the question bank and flow and create a grading scale to evaluate responses objectively. It also helps interviewers stay focused and avoid getting interrupted by unrelated conversations.
To create a structured interview, you must choose questions as per the skills you want to assess in candidates — such as problem-solving abilities, critical thinking, and creativity. Next, create a rank order measurement for each question by determining which answers are most acceptable to least acceptable.
3. Train your brain to be reflective, not reactive:
Bad interviews involve unconscious biases that cloud judgment leading to discrimination and bad hires. Actively combating these biases is essential for conducting high-quality interviews:
● Learn how cognitive biases work: Learn about the different kinds of hiring biases that exist. Identifying and being aware of biases is the first step to avoiding them.
● Take an Implicit Association Test (IAT.): This assessment reveals what implicit prejudices, errors in judgment, and cognitive distortions you are prone to. You can take Harvard’s IAT to learn about your implicit biases.
● Reflect on your unique prejudices: Your personal experiences, preferences, and concerns give you a unique set of judgments that interfere with interviewing candidates objectively. For instance, if you believe that overqualified candidates will likely get bored of their jobs and quit, you might avoid hiring them. This might lead you to miss out on quality candidates.
Conduct better interviews with FloCareer
Conducting interviews is a skill that requires training, preparation, and finesse. Time-tested methods include preparing your questions beforehand, adding structure to your interview by assessing candidates along the same scale, and being mindful of cognitive biases that might cloud your decision-making.
You can also upgrade your interview strategy by using FloCareer. Our tech-driven products and solutions can help you create a focused interview structure, filter quality resumes, conduct bot-based interviews, and reduce hiring bias in your company. We’ve successfully conducted over 300,000 interviews for more than 150 clients, making us a reliable platform for upscaling your talent acquisition framework.