An interview seems like a pretty simple process – a conversation between 2 parties that is structed and prepared to achieve a purpose involving exchange of information. Seems quite simple.. but only it isn’t. The interview has 3 stages: The preparation stage, conducting the interview itself and follow up. What several employers don’t realize is that the even though the conducting the interview itself may be the most important phase, but without the proper preparation, the interview itself would be useless as it wouldn’t provide honest answers and information. It is the interviewers job to make sure that all the interviewee feels at ease so that the information collected is useful and true.
Of course asking the right questions is one of the most important skills to ensure that the interview obtains correct, honest and useful information. However, if the interviewer is unprepared and creates an uncomfortable environment for the interviewee that may result in the interviewee not speaking out freely. Therefore, one of the most important tasks in the first stage of preparation is preparing the questions. The interviewer should know beforehand what questions he/she is going to ask. The best way to deal with this is to prepare a list beforehand that covers all aspects and will collect all the information that will be needed. The preparation stage is as important as the interview process itself. While preparing the questions, they should make sure that they cover all ground and ask questions that will make the interviewee feel calm. It’s best to avoid any questions that may make the interviewee uncomfortable or feel threatened. Its rude to ask direct questions about the interviewees religious or political affiliation, marriage or relationship status as these questions aren’t relevant to a person’s professional capabilities. So the interviewer should make sure that the questions they plan to ask are appropriate. Asking questions does hold its importance but there are other factors in the preparation stage that can make an interview successful.
Its very important that the interviewer books a place before hand. They should make sure that they don’t hold the interview in a crowded place where there are so many distractions that the interviewee doesn’t feel comfortable. One should make sure they go to a private and confidential place only then will the interviewer be able to see the real candidate without any disruptions from other collegues. Therefore, one of the most important stages in preparing for the interview is to book a place before hand so that theres no confusion. Another very important aspect is for the interviewer to make sure they allocate time properly. Not only is it important to make sure you’re free during the time scheduled for the interview but its also important that you go the extra mile to make sure you don’t get any phone calls or drop bys. If you have more than one interview you should keep a 10-15 minute window in between so that even if the interview runs a little over time, you don’t keep the other candidate waiting. If you get phone calls or seem busy during the interview, the candidate would feel unwanted and threatened, this would result in them not opening up and feeling like their time isn’t worth as much as yours. Another very important step of the preparation stage is for the interviewer to research about the candidate. You should spend time to thoroughly go through their CV before the interview. The interviewer should know a little about the businesses where the candidiate worked before. A quick Google Search or LinkedIn search can help the interviewer find out a lot about the candidate. Researching can also help you frame your questions about the candidates experience and background.
Its also necessary for the interviewer to know their goals – to know exactly what it is that they want from the interview. Going into the interview with a clear image of what it is that they want to achieve from the interview is important so that they don’t steer off topic and achieve their goals.
Now let’s talk about how the interviewer can create a calm psychological environment for the candidates where they feel safe and comfortable to open up. Its also important to realize that the interviewers perception of the climate may be different to that of the interviewee. Whether it’s a smile or a warm handshake, these little things can create a relaxed environment for the candidate. The interviewer needs to be aware of the fact that the candidate is probably very nervous as the recruitment process is quite a nerve-wrecking one. Its essential that the interviewer does his level best to make the situation positive for the candidate. The interviewer can use tools such as small talk or refreshments to make the candidate feel less nervous. Even though it might seem like a small thing, the seating arrangement can have quite a major effect on the psychological environment. Therefore, the interviewer should make sure that the seating arrangement isn’t made to intimidate. The interviewer should try their level best to be as hospitable as possible, through offering refreshments, smiling, talking politely or just listening to the candidate, since all these things help the candidate feel comfortable enough to open up.
The interviewer should also make sure that they reach on time since arriving late may make the interviewee feel like they aren’t as important to you or their time isn’t worth anything to you. Your welcoming demeanor should make the candidate feel wanted and secure. Instead of jumping right into the questios, it’s good to make a little small talk before to establish some comfort. The interviewer should understand that walking into a strange place with strange people can be very intimidating for someone, so giving the candidate a tour of the office, or introducing them to a few other employees is a good idea to break the ice. A warm introduction can take the edge off and can make the candidate open up more.
All of these things can help make the interview successful and the interviewer can actually achieve the goals that they set. By ensuring a comfortable environment, the candidates will themselves warm upto you and you’ll have all the honest information that you needed from them.