From a candidate’s point of view, nailing an interview is hard. However, for the interviewer, structuring questions and maintaining the organizational flow of an interview might be even more challenging. From not being well-versed in your candidate’s job history to going completely off-topic, there are many traps that you can get caught in.
In perhaps the most seminal Harvard Business Review piece on the art of the interview from 1964, Samuel G. Trull writes, "interviewing remains one of those activities which we think we know all about merely because we have been doing it so long; we have been lulled by habit.”
When you’re so used to doing something one way, it sets the stage for stagnation within your skillset which is, in this case, conducting a solid interview. So how can you conduct better interviews? This article will cover six techniques to help you learn the art of selecting quality candidates.
How can you improve your interviewing strategy?
Although interviewing well is an art, there are specific techniques to help master it. Follow these six methods to improve your hiring efficiency:
1. Opt for specificity over broad questions
Consider this set of interview questions: “Describe a specific situation where you used sound logic and judgment to solve a problem. Describe what your goal was and what actions you took to meet it? Explain the outcome and what you learned.” Compare the above to: “Describe your prior work experience.”
The former provides more detail about relevant skill sets and encourages candidates to speak about relevant information that can be helpful in the screening process. Yet, interviewers often take an informal, unstructured route to interviewing, resulting in many crucial details getting left out. Therefore, you must replace abstract questions with focused ones to get an accurate insight into an applicant’s aptitude.
2. Employ the S-T-A-R method
One of the fundamentals of conducting a behavioral interview is the STAR method. It stands for:
S- Situation: Ask your candidate to describe a situation where they used specific skills (e.g., leadership skills, communication skills). This scenario could be a previous job, a volunteering role, or a general life experience. The key is to ensure you get details about the situation rather than a vague description of what happened.
T- Task: Next, ask the candidate about their specific responsibilities in the situation, i.e., what tasks were assigned to them to achieve the goal. The more descriptive the job role, the better the response.
A- Action: Third, ask the candidate what actions they took to address, rectify, or generally deal with the situation? Ask them for details about how they took responsibility for completing their assigned task. If a candidate has a clear response about their role and does not reference their team or others’ responses more frequently than their own, this is a sign of a good response.
R- Result: Finally, ask your candidate what the outcome of the whole situation was after they took action? What did the candidate accomplish from this event? How did the event come to an end?
While interviewees are often recommended to use the STAR method, it is also helpful for interviewers; creating a structured interview with the STAR format has many benefits. The STAR method streamlines the interviews and saves time by keeping the applicant’s focus on describing a specific situation. In addition, you also get standardization across interviews, which means you can better measure one applicant’s responses against another.
3. Establish rapport with your candidates
Formal, structured interviews can be intimidating, but interviewers have the opportunity to create a hospitable and friendly environment for candidates. Building a rapport puts candidates at ease, enabling them to answer questions better. Moreover, creating a more welcoming atmosphere also increases the chances of the candidate accepting the job offer if they are selected.
You can create rapport using verbal or non-verbal signals. Verbal cues include using language to make a connection, e.g., exchanging pleasantries or using light humor. Non-verbal cues like facing your applicant and putting your phone on silent signal that the interviewee has your undivided attention. Mirroring the candidate and discussing commonalities have also been shown to establish rapport.
4. Include technical coding assessments
To gauge the candidate’s expertise accurately, you can include technical coding assessments in the interview process. FloCareer’s Interview As A Service platform is designed to include customized question sets with coding tasks and scenario-based questions to evaluate a candidate objectively based on the job description. This allows you to evaluate candidates based on their skills, not just their education or work history.
5. Avoid filling in silences out of fear
Interviews can distort the sense of time for candidates and recruiters due to their anxiety-provoking nature and cause them to hurry the question-answer process. This can also result in an interviewer asking the next question while the interviewee is still gathering their thoughts and preparing their response to the previous one.
Although long periods of silence may be awkward or uncomfortable, interviewers need to embrace them during the interview process. A candidate choosing to be careful and deliberate in their response is never a bad sign. You can reflect on what the interviewee has told you so far until you get a response to your next question.
6. Learn how to conclude interviews well
How you conclude an interview determines your relationship with the candidate due to a psychological heuristic known as the peak-end rule: individuals tend to judge an experience by how they felt at the peak moments and the end. Therefore, it is important to always end the interview on a good note and thank the interviewee for their time.
Discover efficient hiring solutions with FloCareer
Hiring the right candidates is the key to a company’s success, and FloCareer makes this process easy and effective. With a variety of tech-driven products and solutions and a community of over 3,000 expert interviewers, we have all the tools you need to develop a strong interview strategy.
Our Interview Structuring platform uses insights and analytics to create a custom question bank for you, based on your required difficulty and proficiency levels. Moreover, our digital Digital Interviewing platform allows you to show images, videos, or presentations as a problem-solving question.
Sign up for a free demo, and start the journey to create a standardized and consistent hiring strategy today.