8 Interview Tips for Managers: How to Truly Get to Know Your Candidates

While most managers involved in direct hire and contract staffing will have extensive experience conducting interviews, many use their time with a prospective candidate ineffectively. After all, a successful interview covers all bases and digs beneath the surface to gauge a more comprehensive understanding of the candidate. So even if you are a new hiring manager, or a seasoned pro, keep reading for 8 expert interview tips for managers to help you select the best candidate for any position.

When conducting a job interview, it may not be enough to simply follow a set list of formulaic questions and then move on. Hiring managers need to build a relationship with candidates, learn if the candidate can handle their responsibilities, and determine if the candidate will be a good cultural fit. By following some simple tips for conducting an interview, you can hire a valuable employee and avoid making a costly hiring mistake. Use the eight tips below to ensure you get the very most from every interview and walk away with a detailed understanding of your candidates.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning is a must. Make sure to plan the types of questions you want to ask and know what you want to take away from the interview. A great interview tip for employers is to make a list of what you want to understand about a candidate and construct questions that will give you the answers you need to make an informed decision.

According to Business News Daily, an effective way to approach the planning stage is to conduct what is known as a “job analysis.” This involves enlisting the help of a specialist in the area in which you are hiring to develop a detailed question strategy. So, if you are filling marketing jobs or PR jobs, for example, it is important to consult with marketing recruiters or experts in the field beforehand.

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2. Research the Candidate

One of the more valuable interview tips for employers is to have an understanding of the candidate before they walk in. Remember, candidates are online job searching. Chances are these candidates have social media profiles both personal and professional. Hop online and do some quick research. Alongside reviewing their resume, look into their LinkedIn profile and see what additional information you can acquire. Search further into other profiles for additional information.

3. Build a Rapport

At the start of the interview, it is important to break the ice and alleviate any anxiety or tension. Make the candidate feel comfortable. According to Forbes, an effective way to do this is to ask simple questions that can help establish a rapport, such as “where did you go to school?” or “did you travel far?”. Now you can get more honest answers and a better sense of the candidate’s personality.

4. Go With the Flow

If the interview diverts away from the structure you had planned, do not panic. Stopping a flowing conversation is rude and counterproductive. After all, these interview tips are meant to get to know your candidate. Go with the flow, but still ensure that all necessary points are covered.

One of the most important interview tips for managers is to build a friendly rapport. This is key to learning more about your candidate.
One of the most important interview tips for managers is to build a friendly rapport. This is key to learning more about your candidate.

5. Have an Interview Partner

Invite one or two more interviewers into the meeting with you, Harvard Business Review asserted. With multiple people involved, all of whom will bring their own questions and perspectives,  you will gain a more detailed and well-rounded understanding of the candidate. Additionally, by bringing in an additional partner, decisions are often made quicker, accelerating the hiring process.

Profiles Business Development Manager, Marjorie Martin weighs in, “My most successful hiring manager partners conduct a job interview with a team member to gain team buy-in and expedite the interview process. In a candidate driven market, employers are susceptible to lose in-demand candidates to their competition due to long processes or slow turnaround times.”

6. Describe Problems, Ask For Solutions

When you are interviewing candidates, it is important to learn whether or not they can handle the job. An effective questioning strategy involves describing potential problems that could arise in the position in question, and then asking the candidate to describe how he would handle it, Harvard Business Review stated. This strategy will enable you to better understand how suited the candidate is to the position by assessing their response to challenge and stress.

7. Promote the Company

Harvard Business Review suggested that the interview is also an opportune time to promote the position and company, especially if the candidate seems promising. Most interviewers forget that the process is designed to be reciprocal in nature: You are there to learn about the candidate and the candidate is there to learn about the position and your organization. By promoting your employer brand, the candidate gets a better understanding of your culture and you can get a sense of whether or not they align with your corporate values.

“Employers risk losing top tier candidates with slow turnaround times”

8. Be Careful With Certain Questions

In an attempt to better understand your candidate, it can be easy to wander into a line of questioning that is legally problematic. Knowing how to interview a candidate means knowing what not to ask. Questions that pertain, even indirectly, to a protected characteristic such as age, religion, marital status, sexuality or national origin could land you and human resources in legal hot water if the candidate takes offense, Entrepreneur explained. The most effective way to avoid this is to keep the questions focused on professional topics. If you do make small talk, which is in fact advised, it is imperative to keep the line of questioning neutral.

Contact Profiles

Conducting a job interview gives you the best chance to truly get to know your candidates. Invest time in research and preparation for a better interview experience for both you and your candidate. Think about it. While you are looking for your next hire, the candidate is essentially interviewing you and your company, looking for signs that your company and the position are the right decision. By using the above interview tips for managers, you can guarantee a successful and insightful interview with your prospective candidates

If you’re still stuck after reading these interview tips for managers, or are having trouble finding the right talent, contact Profiles to take the lead on your creative talent search.

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