How do Good Interviewers Prepare for Interviews?

6 Tips to Prepare for an Interview

Why is Interview Preparation Important for Employers?

Just like candidates take the time to research you and your company, you should take the time to prepare for the interview. Preparing for the interview doesn’t just reflect well on your employer brand and create a better candidate experience. Preparation also helps prevent bad hiring decisions. Bad hiring decisions are usually a result of poor execution during the hiring process. However, going into an interview fully prepared and ready to evaluate candidates will help avoid bad hires. So, here are 6 interview preparation tips for employers.

How Do You Become a Better Interviewer?

Create and Review Your Candidate Personae

When you create a candidate personae, you imagine the “perfect” candidate for the role. The candidate’s personae should include everything from personality and characteristics to acquired skills. You typically do this BEFORE you invite candidates to the interview. However, when interview time rolls around, it is vital that you review it.

Reviewing your candidate personae before the interview allows you to do an assessment of the candidates. This assessment aids in creating interview questions that will help you dig further into who each candidate is. Also, as much as we’d like to think we’ll get everything we want in a candidate, that is not always the case. At times, you may have to compromise. So, reviewing your standards beforehand lets you decide what skills and traits are flexible and what is mandatory.

Review the Candidate’s Resume Before the Interview

While this seems like a no-brainer, there are many interviewers who go into the interview blindly interviewing candidates. This is risky for two reasons. First, not reviewing the candidate’s resume makes it hard to compare them to what your ideal candidate is. As a result, you may have a difficult time asking specific interview questions and getting to know them.

On the other hand, not reviewing the resume before the interview makes you look unprepared. And believe it or not, many good candidates will feel it is rude because they spend a lot of time researching the company and industry. Ultimately, it may even be a poor reflection on your company culture and be deemed a red flag for interviewees.

So take 15-20 seconds before the interview to review the candidate’s resume. It is a small act, but it will make a difference in your interview prep and the way the candidate perceives your company’s culture.

Prepare Interview Questions

Good interview questions are the backbone of a great interview. A combination of factors goes into creating the ideal set of interview questions. First, decide the purpose of the interview. Are you interested in them demonstrating skills? Do you want to know how they handle pressure? Or are you more interested in measuring their potential and personality? Once you’ve decided what specific knowledge you want to gain from the interview, you’ll have an idea of the type of interview you will perform – group interview, case interview, competency interview, behavioral interview, situational interview, etc.

Once you have identified the purpose of the type of interview and the interview type, it is time to create a list of questions. You can create questions from scratch or you can do some research. Oftentimes, you can find interview questions that your competitors are asking candidates that are interviewing for the same role. Lastly, as you create and source your questions, just remember three things

  1. Only ask for information that will help make the hiring decision
  2. Be able to explain how that information will help you make the decision
  3. Never ask interview questions that could set you up to be accused of bias

Develop a Structured Grading System

Whether you decide to perform a structured, unstructured, or semi-structured interview, you should have a standard grading system. A grading system that remains consistent with each candidate eliminates bias and ensures that each candidate is given fair and equal opportunity.

Additionally, using a structured grading system helps you stay organized. It is difficult to compare candidates if you have different bits of information that aren’t relevant to each other. The best recommendation is to use a structured grading system AND take additional notes during the interview. That way, you’ll have a base comparison method, as well as additional information to strengthen your hiring decision.

Research Job Candidates

One thing that will separate you from other interviewers is taking the time to research and learn more about who you are interviewing. The more you know about your candidates, the more insight you have during interviews. As an interviewer, you’ll be able to go beyond your standardized interview questions and touch on topics that will unveil the candidate’s true personality and potential.

As you build a full profile of each prospect, you’ll also begin to uncover what is meaningful to them. Knowing this allows you to construct a job offer that is specifically tailored to get a yes. On the other hand, if you know you may not be able to offer what they need, you may need to put the focus on another high-performing candidate.

Follow Up With Your Candidates

The only thing worse than rejecting a candidate unprofessionally is never following up after the interview. An indication of an exemplary employer brand is the ability to maintain relationships with candidates. That is nearly impossible to do if you are ghosting your interviewees.

As soon as you know you are going with someone else, you should reach out via email, phone call, or asynchronous video. At the end of your message, offer to stay connected through social media, subscribing to your careers page, or any other method of communication. Think about it, they were your candidate for a reason. Keeping them around could potentially help with future sourcing needs.

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