Four tips on how to interview like a boss…

By Mike Keating | Co-founder of attract.ai

TLDR: Be clear about the process and follow through.

Interviewing candidates is an exciting part of the hiring journey. It means you’re one step closer to getting the candidate onboard! To ensure you get the most out of their time as well as yours, we’ve come up with four tips to help you with the interview process 👇

Set the scene

Think about what you want the candidate’s first impression of your company to be like. If the words warm, inviting and thoughtful come into mind then make sure the actions you take reflect that. Make sure you (or someone) is there to greet them when they arrive and take them to where the interview is being held.

Manage your own time effectively so you’re not held up taking a call when you’re meant to be beginning the interview. Making candidates wait past the agreed interview time isn’t ideal as it can make them feel as though you are not appreciating their time which is important as these people are often taking time out of their jobs to come and meet you. 

You also want to do what feels natural for you and for the candidate. We’ve heard from candidates before that it can be nerve-wrecking walking through the office where strangers are looking to see who is being taken into the boardroom so just think about where you want to hold the interview. If the boardroom doesn’t feel right because it’s a considered a serious place in your office and you want to keep the interview light, go to a café or choose a smaller room within your office.

The goal is to make the candidate feel relaxed and welcome so whatever you can do melt the ice ahead of time, do it! When they arrive, ask if they would like a drink and try to get them settled in the environment. Begin the interview as casually as possible. Get them settled and relaxed and show that you’re human.

A good way to ease into it is with easy questions such as “what do you like most about (field they are working in)?” or when did you realise you wanted to work in (industry they are in)?”.

Discover

It can be good to have a bank of questions prepared in advance however, make sure to only use them as a guide. Generally, start with easy questions, and progressively ask harder questions, based on their answers. The goal is to gradually explore their strengths and weaknesses so that you build up a detailed picture of the candidate’s abilities. Avoid contrived questions as much as possible.

Rather, aim to ask questions people would ask on a daily basis.

Questions such as, “what was the last project you worked on?”, “how did you contribute?” or “what did you enjoy the most?”. Remember, the purpose of asking them questions is not to look for a perfect answer, rather learn how they approached the situation and handled it.

As you’re exploring their strengths and weaknesses, be sure to ask some questions that are a bit outside their abilities. The goal here is not to fluster, but to see exactly how they handle failure. Do they admit they don’t understand? Do they ask for clarification? Are they able to reason through the problem?

Confirm their interest

This is a really important step to ensure all your work doesn’t go to waste. Make sure during the interview, you confirm whether the candidate is actively interviewing or passive in the market as that promotes transparency and lets you know whether or not you should accelerate the post-interview process to ensure you snag them up before other companies do. Make sure you reaffirm salary expectations as well.

You will have had discussions with them about salary prior to the interview however, this is when you lock it down.

If they say they want $70k and that’s aligned with your expectations, make sure you close strong with something like: ” great, so if I went away and got a contract sorted for $70k, you would be happy and ready to rock and roll?”. That way you avoid salary creep and the candidate is happy with their remuneration from the beginning. 

Consistent communication

Clearly state what the next steps are. Be specific. Let them know how long it takes and stick to that. If things creep up and the process is going to be dragged out, it’s your job to let them know. This creates a smooth candidate experience which is extremely important for candidate satisfaction as well as for company brand. 

Interviewing can be daunting at times, but follow these tips and you’ll be good to go. Technical interviews, however are a whole different story.

Luckily for you, we’ve got an article on how to conduct effective technical interviews from our CTO.