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In a hiring position? Get these top tips on how to interview

Posted by Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on Thursday, Jan 11, 2018

Blog image: top interview tipsInterviewing isn’t an everyday task for most hiring managers and, understandably, this means the majority of hiring managers are out of practice. For some, the process can be almost as daunting for them, as it is for the interviewee.

It can be easy to forget that interviews are just as much about the candidate interviewing you as an employer of choice, as it is the other way around. By brushing up on your interview skills, and learning a few quick tricks to help keep the interviewee engaged and alert, you will not only ensure the candidate is put at ease (and as a result, gives their best performance), but you can be sure that they will leave only having good things to say about your organization. Here’s how:

1. Give a strong, welcoming introduction
The way in which you open the interview will set the tone for the entire meeting, so make sure you capture the candidate’s attention from the outset by delivering a welcoming and engaging introduction which brings the company and role to life. I recommend the below structure:

Share your story. Begin the interview as you usually would any other meeting, by introducing yourself and your role. Give a bit of background about how you got to where you are, how long you have been with the company for, how your role relates to the vacancy in question, etc. By opening yourself up to the candidate and sharing your story, you will make the candidate feel at ease.

Sell them the role. Now provide a brief overview of the role you are recruiting for, where it sits within your team, and how it links to the wider business. Highlight the best features of the job, using feedback from previous employees if possible and elaborate on the scope for development within the role, a promotion plan for example, or training opportunities. Also, use this time to outline exactly what you are looking for in a candidate so the candidate can then tailor their answers once questioning begins.

Why should you be the employer of choice? Next, try asking the candidate what they know about the company so the introduction is more of two-way conversation, but also to keep them on their toes!  Once the candidate has finished telling you what they know about your organization, fill in any necessary blanks - usually things like company culture, and what makes your organization a great place to work – so that the candidate has insights into what life is like at your workplace and how they might fit in. You should also mention any industry accolades which set you apart from the competition, plus any interesting or widely known projects which you have been involved with. What can often excite candidates, is the prospect of having a market leader who is renowned in their field.

Now that you have given the candidate the information that they need to really get enthused, give them a chance to showcase this enthusiasm through an engaging interview question and answer session.

2. Don’t follow a script
Prior to the interview, I recommend you prepare a list of the questions you will want to ask the candidate. However, it’s important the interview doesn’t feel sterile and overly-routine, as if you are simply reading off a script.

In order to demonstrate that you aren’t just going through the motions, make sure that you show the candidate that you are interested in their answers through your body language, for instance; nodding in agreement, leaning in and making eye contact. If necessary, ask questions or comments surrounding their answers, and make time for these tangents. Sometimes tangents can provide more insight into who the candidate really is, as well as avoid a stiff interview which bores the both of you!

3. Bring the interview to life
This candidate may be going on a number of interviews, so make yours stand out. You aren’t limited to a standard question and answer session across a desk. Make time at the end of the interview to show the candidate where they will be working, introduce them to the team and show them around the office. Another option is to get other people to come in and ask some of the questions, or show videos of key team members.

Remember, keep the interview engaging, interesting and conversational. This will help sell the opportunity to the candidate and help stay in their mind as an employer of choice, so they walk away saying only good things about you, your organization and the opportunity in hand.


Looking for more than just interview advice? Check out the Hiring Essentials Handbook.

Talk to Rowan O'Grady, Hays Canada President, on the Canadian labour market.

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