How to Conduct a Job Interview

Recruiting new talent and conducting job interviews can be a daunting task for those without experience. The recruitment process takes time, energy, and a lot of administrative work, and conducting the interview itself can feel just as nerve-wracking for you as for your applicants.

But the process doesn’t have to be so daunting or arduous. With the help of the right recruitment software and some interview preparation, you can recruit top-level talent and conduct killer job interviews relatively stress-free.

So if you want to conduct a smooth-sailing job interview, stick with us, as we tell you exactly how to do it.

The Easy Parts of Conducting a Job Interview

Even if you’re not a particularly social person, the easiest part of conducting a job interview is that you have common ground with the applicant–you already work for your company, and they want to. That gives you a good starting point.

You get to share your passion for your line of work, the company’s goals and values, and paint an ideal picture of the job role to new candidates. Furthermore, you get to be a part of shaping the future of the company by choosing which candidate brings the most to the table.

Recruitment can be an arduous process at times, but with the right tools it doesn’t need to be. Breezy HR is an end-to-end recruiting solution designed to help you attract and hire top-level talent efficiently and stress-free. Breezy HR provides you all the tools you need to recruit, organize, and keep in touch with all your candidates.

The Difficult Parts of Conducting a Job Interview

When it comes to conducting a successful job interview, preparation is key, particularly when it comes to formal interviews with a multi-step process. Planning things like the structure of the interview, the questions you’ll ask, and how you’ll grade each candidate may seem like a fruitless task, but it will make the entire process much smoother and more successful.

Having a clear plan in place will also help to prevent inconsistencies across interviews from appearing. It’s extremely common for interviewers to let personal biases, moods, or distractions, get in the way of the impression the candidate has made. Ensuring you have a streamlined scoring system to mark candidates the same across the board will help combat these biases.

Finally, one of the most challenging parts of conducting interviews is interview fatigue. Arranging all your interviews in one day may seem like a great way to speed up the hiring process. But can you honestly say that if you were to set back-to-back interviews over an entire day, you’d give the last candidate the same attention level as the first? Of course not, none of us would.

To combat interview fatigue, schedule no more than four interviews per day. Be sure to allow for regular breaks between interviews, giving yourself enough time to jot down immediate thoughts, before moving on to the next candidate.

Step 1: Get Organized

All of the easy and difficult parts of conducting interviews we discussed above, can easily be controlled or prevented with some preparation and organization in place. With this in mind, we start first with planning.

Hire for Need

Before you start the recruitment process, a key step is to determine whether your recruiting position is a true business need for your company. Or if the position you’re recruiting for can be improved or changed in any way to further suit business requirements.

Take this opportunity to dig deep into what it is you’ll need the new candidate to do and structure the position accordingly.

Determine the Process

It’s important to determine whether the interview process will consist of one or multiple components before you create the job advertisement and start recruiting. Many candidates like to understand the entire interview process before diving into a job application.

In this step, consider things like whether you’ll set a task for candidates to prove their capabilities, as well as if you’ll hold a phone interview first to narrow down the list of face-to-face interviews. Also consider whether you need to involve other people in the process such as high-level managers or stakeholders, and weave this into the process too.

Know What You’re Offering

Aside from having the opportunity to land the job of their dreams, most candidates also like to know what kind of perks they’ll see alongside the position. It’s a great idea to include these perks in the job description to entice quality candidates to apply.

This step is all about dialing in on what your company has to offer new candidates. It should cover things like expected salary, bonuses, career development opportunities, included perks, or benefits employees will be entitled to after their probationary period.

Covering the tasks of this first step is important as it allows you to fine-tune the requirements of your business. You’ll also get to plan what the ideal hiring process looks like and to define the scope of your offer, before diving into the recruitment stage.

Step 2: Start the Recruitment Process

Now that you have all your ducks in a row, it’s time to start the recruitment process. The length of the recruitment process can be as short or long as you need. But if you focus on including the below steps, the process will be a smooth one.

Enlist a Recruitment Software

Instead of manually posting the position and managing your recruitment across multiple platforms such as Indeed, Glassdoor, or GoogleJobs, you can do this all in one place with a tool like Breezy HR.

With Breezy HR, you can create custom pipelines for different positions and tailor the hiring stages to fit the needs of each role. You can also broadcast your open role to the best job sites out there, without manually uploading to each site. You’ll even be able to schedule interviews within the software, allowing candidates to select a time that works for them.

Breezy HR will take care of the mundane, administrative tasks of recruiting, allowing you to focus your energies on choosing the best candidate for the job.

Craft the Job Advertisement

After taking the time to dial in on what your business needs are and what you can offer interested candidates in Step 1, you’re now ready to craft a killer job advertisement.

This step is important as you need to be clear with candidates on what skills they should possess, while also pitching the role in a way that entices top-level candidates to apply.

Include an in-depth description of the role including key tasks and responsibilities. You also need to set clear guidelines for candidates in terms of what previous experience or skills they should have, and what you can offer in return. Finally, let candidates know what they need to do to apply and when applications close.

Advertise on Multiple Platforms Using Breezy HR

When your perfectly crafted job advertisement is ready to go, share your open job role with thousands of applicants. Breezy HR will automatically distribute your job description to free job boards relevant to your area, and your role, with the click of a button.

With another click and an additional fee, Breezy HR will also share your open job role to premium job boards such as LinkedIn, Seek, and ZipRecruiter.

Step 3: Preparing For the Interview

You’ve launched your killer job advertisement onto all the best job boards and now applications from incredible candidates are flowing in. It’s time to prepare for the interview stage. Here is where the important steps towards preparing and executing the perfect interview begin.

Plan Interview Structure

You should already have decided on the components of the interview in Step 1, but now it’s time to plan the structure of each component. It’s a great idea to draw a rough outline of how the interview will ultimately unfold so that you don’t get sidetracked along the way.

Consider things like how you’ll start the interview, what kind of questions you’ll ask and when, and how much time you’ll need to conduct the interview.

Create an Interview Assessment Guide

Using an interview assessment guide to grade each candidate is important in ensuring that all candidates are compared equally and without bias. It also means that you can use multiple interviewers throughout the process, with peace of mind that they are all looking for the same qualities in a candidate.

In your assessment guide, include details of the key skills candidates must possess, a method of how interviewers should grade candidates’ responses to certain questions, and what skills or behaviors they should exhibit when attempting any physical components of the interview.

Prepare Interview Questions

Preparing which questions you’ll ask each candidate is a great way to ensure you’re covering all aspects of the interview assessment guide you’ve just created. You can also pass these questions to any other interviewers so each candidate has a similar interview.

Include topics such as previous employment experience, skills or education that candidates can bring to the role, and questions relating specifically to the open role. Don’t make these questions so hard that they can completely stump or embarrass the candidate. You want them to feel comfortable and capable to perform their absolute best in the interview.

Schedule a Date

Ideally, you’ll be covering all these steps while the recruitment stage is ongoing, so by the time applications close, you’re ready to hit the ground running with interviews. Leave yourself at least one week after the application deadline to go through applications and notify successful candidates of the interview date and time.

Furthermore, when setting the interview dates and times, remember to schedule a maximum of three to four interviews per day and allow for plenty of time between interviews to make notes on immediate thoughts and to let go of any negative emotions before you greet the next candidate.

Taking the time to adequately prepare for the interview process is almost more important than holding them. Here you have the opportunity to construct the ideal interview that is going to make the interviewer confident and the interviewee comfortable and capable of showing their true talents.

Step 4: Conducting the Interviews

If you’ve put in the work using the steps above, conducting the interview will be the easiest step in the whole process. Here are some pointers to make sure all your hard work comes to life when it comes to the live interview.

Start With Casual Conversation

Instead of diving right into the job-specific questions, take some time to get to know the candidate. Start by introducing yourself and ask a few easy questions like “how’s your day going so far?” or “do you live in the area?” Feel free to follow up on these with a bit of small talk to get to know the candidate more.

Asking these questions will allow the candidate to relax and feel comfortable with the interviewer before diving into the interview questions. The aim here is for the candidate to open up and share their true colors throughout the interview.

Introduce the Company

Once everyone has relaxed, it’s time to give the candidate a rundown of the company. Ideally, they’ll have done their research into what the company does, but it always helps to hear it from an insider’s perspective as well.

Include specifics of your role, your position in the business, and how the company sees itself positioned compared to competitors. Finally, touch on what the candidate can expect from the business in the future if they are to be successful.

Dive Into the Questioning

There are two parts to the questioning portion of an interview. The first part involves general questions about the candidate’s experiences and skills, career goals, or future plans. This is a good opportunity to refer to the candidate’s CV and ask pointed questions about what you see.

The second part involves specific position-based questions allowing you to discover how the candidate thinks they will put their skills into practice within your business. Ask questions about how they’ll handle particular parts of the job and whether they have previous experience handling similar situations.

The question portion of the interview is also a great opportunity for candidates to glean information from you too and can turn your interview into more of a conversation which is ideal for discovering the candidate’s true personality.

Allow Time for Candidate Questions

When you feel you’ve covered all aspects of the interview, don’t forget to allow the candidate the opportunity to ask you questions. This is a great way to determine whether they’ve done their research or are truly interested in the role.

An interested candidate is likely to ask questions like why the position is open, when the expected start date is, and when they can expect to hear from you again.

Don’t forget to share this information with the candidate regardless of whether they ask. It’s important to set guidelines as to when they’ll be notified of the outcome of their application.

Step 5: Hire the Best Candidate

This step may not come right away if you plan to do second and third rounds of interviews. If you are going to do this, repeat step 4 for each round of interviews until you reach the final stage.

Compare Candidates

Bring together the interview assessment guide, any additional notes you’ve taken, the candidate’s CV and job application, and get ready to compare the candidate’s side-by-side.

Ideally, you’ll also have some input from your colleagues in this step, which you can also do within Breezy HR. Having a second or third opinion on a candidate’s performance can help to weed out any bias or favoritism you may be accidentally projecting into the process.

Complete Reference Checks

Once you’ve chosen your preferred candidate, contact their references to ensure that they are as good as they present themselves. This is an important step as some candidates will shine on paper, but stumble in the interview and vice versa.

The candidate’s references will be able to provide first-hand information relating to their on-the-job performance which is obviously vital to their success in the position.

Issue the Job Offer

Once you’re satisfied you’ve chosen the best candidate and completed all your checks, it’s time to deliver the exciting news! Issue the formal job offer, contract, and arrange a start date with your preferred candidate.

Ideally, you’ll wait until you receive the signed and accepted job offer before notifying the other candidates that they’ve been unsuccessful. Although it’s an uncomfortable step, letting them know why they weren’t successful or what the successful candidate could offer that they didn’t, is great feedback to provide, so they can address these skills for future employment opportunities.

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