5 Tips on Conducting an Engaging Job Interview

Kate Conroy
June 15, 2022

A job interview, when done correctly, is a two-way street. It’s not just about finding the best candidate for your open role, it’s also about candidates finding the right fit for them. Although this dichotomy may seem like it’s not in the employer’s best interest, the opposite is true. Making hiring mistakes is costly and time-consuming. Conducting an interview that makes sure the fit is right for both the employer and the candidate leads to increased employee engagement and retention. How can you conduct a job interview that provides both sides with the information they need to make the best possible hiring decision?

1. Establish Rapport With the Candidate

Establishing rapport with the candidate is essential to an engaging interview. More often than not, candidates are nervous. We don’t communicate our best when our nerves get in the way. Anyone conducting the interview should see it as their responsibility to help the candidate get comfortable so they can put their best foot forward. 

Although an interview is often a serious conversation, it shouldn’t feel like an interrogation. Let the conversation flow. Don’t be afraid to make small talk. Be mindful of your tone and what it communicates to the candidate. Establish a tone that is more conversational than formal. Repeat your questions, and let your candidates take some time to gather their thoughts or even start over if they need to. Make eye contact with the candidate and smile, so they know you are listening carefully, equally engaged, and are focused on creating a positive candidate experience.

2. Clearly Communicate Company Culture

Finding someone who has the skills to do the job is the easy part. Finding someone who will thrive in your company culture is a bit more difficult. While you are working on sussing out if a candidate is right for you, let them help with this aspect as well. Give them a window into your company culture and let them decide if you are the right fit for them.

To create this window, start by telling the candidate a bit about the company at the start of the interview. This helps confirm the research they have done and lets them know you are open to providing them with information about the company and its culture. Dress, speak, and interact in a way that is consistent with your company culture. Often an interview is a candidate’s first impression of company culture, so make sure you represent it well. An example – If your company dress code is casual, don’t wear a suit jacket to conduct interviews.

If possible, let the candidate meet members of the team in person in a casual setting as a part of the final interview. This gives them an opportunity to see what the work environment is like and how different members of the team interact. This helps the candidate decide if the team is one they could see themselves being a part of.

3. Ask Behavioral Questions

Behavioral interview questions are a win-win. They give you, the employer, the best insight into the candidate’s ability to perform, as behavior interviewing is built on the theory that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. They are also the easiest for candidates to answer because they are developed in a way that invites the candidate to just talk about themselves and tell a story about something they’ve done. 

Remember, you want each candidate to have the opportunity to put their best foot forward. If their answer is missing something, help them. Ask them a follow-up question requesting they be more specific or give more details. Don’t let a great candidate slip away because interviewing isn’t their natural skill set.

4. Be Prepared to Answer the Candidate’s Questions

Candidates are looking to find the next opportunity to support their career goals and be the right fit for them. They will have questions for you, and just as you expect them to be prepared to answer any questions you may have, you should be prepared to do the same. Think about the common questions a candidate may have. Some of these will be logistical: How many days I am expected to be in the office? What group benefit plans are offered? What does growth look like? Make sure you prepare to answer these questions in advance. If a candidate asks a question you do not know the answer to, let them know you’ll follow up with an answer, and then be sure to actually follow up.

How you respond to a candidate during their interview is a preview for them of what it is like to work with you. Leave them with the right impression.

5. Provide a Realistic Timeline and Point of Contact

No one likes being ghosted- but sometimes delays happen. When you are closing your interview, provide candidates with a realistic timeline, but be honest about the possibility of delays. If something unexpected happens that delays your timeline, let your candidates know. When candidates don’t hear back after they’ve expected to, they will assume that they are not the candidate of choice and move on. If you leave a candidate hanging, this impacts your employer’s brand and company reputation.

Let candidates know who they can contact for an update or with questions. Is it the human resources representative, the hiring manager, or someone else? Be available for the candidate through every step of the process.  Give them someone to reach out to if they would like an update, or would like to request more information.

Have Additional Questions on Conducting an Engaging Job Interview?

Conducting an engaging job interview is key to becoming an employer of choice and building an engaged workforce. Not sure of where to start? Red Clover offers Recruitment Process Outsourcing and can support building an engaging interview process from top to bottom. Interested in learning more? Contact us to get started!

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