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4 Preparation Tips that Help You Better Conduct Interviews

05.24.2016

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For hiring managers in any industry, conducting a job interview is a crucial part of the hiring process. Do it right, and you greatly increase your chances of turning multiple intriguing candidates into one productive and quality employee. Do it wrong, and you end up with a worker who looked great on paper but does not fulfill your company's expectations.

As any hiring manager knows, the key to interview success is to consider the process in its entirety. Rather than waiting until the candidate walks into the door, you need to make sure that everything is lined up to turn the interview interview into success. So without further ado, here are 4 preparation tips that help you conduct better and more productive job interviews. 

1) Prepare and Personalize Your Questions

Finding the right candidate for your job opening means finding out both their professional qualifications and their cultural fit. It's tempting to ask the same questions to each interviewee, but that does not take into account the fact that more likely than not, these candidates come from very different backgrounds.

Simply put, they may answer your questions in completely different ways due to their personality and experience. So rather than coming up with a blanket set of questions, consider personalizing your questions specifically to your candidates' application materials. If they've worked in a similar position in the past, ask them about how this job may be different. If they come from a different industries, give them the opportunity to talk about potential transferable skills for your position.

2) Prepare Your Stakeholders

Chances are, especially for leadership positions, that you won't be the only one in the company interviewing the candidates. If multiple stakeholders have their chance to interview, or if you decide to conduct one group interview, you should be sure that everyone is on the same stage beforehand.

That includes running questions by each other to ensure minimum overlap. In addition, especially if you are hiring for a leadership position with plenty of application materials, consider highlighting relevant parts of the candidates' applications to other stakeholders before the interview. That way, you ensure they don't get lost in the wealth of materials, and continue to focus on the interview and position at hand.

3) Consult with Experts

As a hiring manager, you probably know a good bit about hiring the right candidate - but you might not know as much about the position for which you are hiring. That's why talking to topical experts, those who have been in the same or a similar position in your company, can be a crucial advantage.

First, these employees will give you a better idea of what exactly your candidates will experience should they be hired. That, in turn, allows you to be better prepared for questions they may ask about the job. In addition, an in-depth understanding of the position for which you are hiring allows you to more closely align your questions and the overall direction of the interview with the goal of hiring the best possible candidate.

4) Prepare For Answers

The best candidates interview you as much as you interview them. Confident that this won't be the only opportunity for them, they will ask questions about both the position and the company as a whole to determine whether it's a good professional and cultural fit for them.

As a hiring manager, the best thing you can do before the interview is to prepare yourself for these questions. Learning about the candidates, as well as talking to experts within the departments that have an open position, can help you prepare for any eventualities, even if you don't interact with the position on a daily basis after it's filled.  

Good candidates will thoroughly prepare themselves for a job interview to an open position that seems to fit their objectives. It is your job as a hiring manager to be prepared just as well, and taking the above four steps allow you to do just that. As a result, you will feel confident knowing that the interview process yields the best possible candidate for the position.