How to Conduct an Interview: The 5 Tools You Need

By Adam Robinson,
October 18, 2012

How do I conduct an interview? It’s one of those age old questions similiar to, “How did the chicken cross the road?” but less funny.. Anyways, the interview is one of the most critical parts of the hiring process. But you already know that! Why else would you be double checking you have all the tools?

In case you didn’t read the title, we are going to spill the 5 tools we take to every interview, from interns to custodians to CEO’s. Keep this checklist handy in case any employees dare to conduct an interview without one! Let’s begin before the candidate even walks in the door:

1. A Pre-Screening Survey

There is only one simple way to avoid sitting down with a “Serial Applier*, and that is by sending out a pre-screening survey to every person who applies for your job. This way you can measure the interest and eagerness of a candidate and find out a little bit more about their skills. If they don’t send back the survey or simply ignore it, you can “ding” them immediately. Why would you want to waste your time interviewing someone who can’t even follow directions? 

*A Serial Applier is defined by Hireologists as candidates who apply to 30 jobs a day either making their mom happy or just looking for a paycheck. Generally they don’t even look at the job description they just send in their resume and hope you call them.

2. An Interview Guide

The next tool needed to conduct an interview is a solid interview guide. ClichŽs tell us that you would never compare apples to oranges right? So by asking candidates different questions you are essentially committing to the awful oranges apples clichŽ. Instead ask all candidates the same questions so you will be comparing apples to apples! 

TLNT posted an article last month called, The 5 Components You Need to Build a Successful Sales Team and they pointed out that any good interviewer would “use real behavioral interview questions (not a list someone brainstormed in HR) delivered by someone trained in the art of behavioral interviewing.”

You can train yourself in behavioral interviews really fast after reading our series of blog posts. So develop an interview guide with behavioral interview questions and avoid asking candidates different questions.

3. Paper & Pen/Computer

Believe it or not, some hiring managers think they can remember everything the candidate said after an interview. Have you ever had those waiters or waitresses who listen to everyone’s dinner order and don’t write it down, and you just know they are going to forget? This is the same thing! The candidate is spilling all of their achievements, skills, and experience and you don’t have the decency to write it down? Unacceptable!

Tell the candidate up front that you are going to take notes during the interview so they don’t feel intimidated. Make sure you take detailed accounts of their answers so you can look over them later.

4. A Coworker

There is so much back and forth on whether or not it’s good to do panel interviews or not. Here’s what we think, a second opinion is always needed whether you’re buying a wedding dress or hiring a candidate. So invite a coworker in and after the interview is completed have a full discussion about the candidate’s answers with each other and talk about whether or not the candidate is a culture fit. 

5. Scorecard

Finally, after the interview is complete, what do you do? Here at Hireology, we whip out a scorecard and “score” the interview. A scorecard isn’t like what you use in a game of golf. It’s actually a checklist that measures the responses you gathered during the interview on an equal playing field (apples to apples!) 

Read more about interview scorecards here. But trust us, if you are doing interviews you need a scorecard!

Bonus! One tool you don’t need:

Your gut! Now that you have structured interview guides, a scorecard, and a second opinion. You can leave that “gut feeling” at home. No need to use it when you have selected the right person for the job through interviewing tools!

When interviewing each candidate, make sure they encompass each of these four essential elements!

About the Author

Adam co-founded Hireology with the mission to help growing companies make better hiring decisions through data and better technology. Adam is passionate about entrepreneurship, donating time to a number of organizations that support the entrepreneurial cause. Adam completed his undergraduate study at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and received his MBA from DePaul University in Chicago, IL.

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