How To Be A Good Interviewer
Whether you are recruiting for a new position in the team or organizing client interviews for success stories, your interviewing skills play a critical role in the process.
Indeed, interviews have a unique communication format that can be tricky to master. This post explains how to improve your interviewing skills and set the standard for your business interviews.
What makes a good interviewer 🧐
Interviews are, by definition, a communication exercise during which individuals exchange information. It is the role of the interviewer to enable the transfer of information. In other words, a good interviewer acts as a communicator that can bridge the gap between the interviewee and the audience. Therefore, it is essential to count among your interviewing skills behavioral and engagement strategies that will put your interlocutor at ease.
The process of interviewing establishes a connection with the interviewee. As a result, your interlocutor – a client, a job applicant, etc. – is more confident about engaging in the conversation. While the interviewer needs to provide guidance through the process, it isn’t their purpose to monopolize talking time and attention. Good interviews require ego-less interviewers who understand that the process is about the exchange.
Good interviewer - are you one? 🤔
The interviewing process is a balancing act between a structured and organized approach and a friendly and engaging conversational style.
Preparation is crucial 🤓
You would expect the interviewee to prepare. The interviewer needs to set time to research and hone their interviewing skills too.
For job interviews, for instance, most candidates gather information and knowledge about the company. The same principle applies to the recruiters or the person in charge of recruitment interviews. Refreshing your knowledge of the company can be helpful to answer candidates’ queries. Additionally, candidates will also expect the interviewer to know their profiles. You can’t run job interviews smoothly if you haven’t studied your candidates’ résumés and portfolios. If you focus on clients' interviews, familiarizing yourself with their business and professional paths will help prepare relevant questions and topics.
You need to approach interviews with a clear goal. If you are recruiting for a job, understanding the job requirements and the necessary set of skills allows you to tailor questions accordingly. For recruiters, this means working with a relevant job description and gathering knowledge on how to evaluate the wanted skills – soft and hard – for the role. If you are meeting a client for a success story or a potential partner, the questions should address your commercial relationship and the mutual benefits it creates.
You need a structure 👈🏼
While good interviews need to be scripted to achieve your objectives, your interviewing skills should make the exchange feel conversational and as natural as possible. A good interviewer has a structured script that acts as a compass. However, they know when to focus on the conversation and the flow – take a look at how Dick Cavett created his interesting interviewing technique. As part of the exchange, the interviewee will engage in their responses, behaviors, and questions. The interviewer can use these elements to gather the required information without making the conversation feel forced.
Your methodical list of questions also comes with a strategy to capture responses. One of the most important interviewing skills to learn is taking impartial notes that enable you to rate answers. In recruitment interviews, candidates' answers are evaluated on the consistency and the skills they illustrate.
Show people you value their presence 🙏🏽
Funders and Founders summarises the essential interviewing skills that enable people to connect. Breaking the ice falls under the responsibility of a good interviewer. From a handshake to maintaining eye contact, your behavior conveys a message: I am interested in what you have to say. An experienced professional can also introduce psychologic behavioral support in their interviewing skills, such as positive mirroring in body language to ease your interlocutor.
Asking relevant questions that link back to the interlocutor or things that have just been said fulfills the second requirement of a good conversation: Showing you are actively listening. As such, it is a reminder that the interview is about them. Embracing communication-facilitating tips, such as pauses to allow the interlocutor to elaborate on their thoughts, is a sign of your attentiveness.
How can you improve - and why should you 👏🏼
Interviews define whether someone will join the business’s talent pool or promote your latest services. Consequently, enhancing and developing your interviewing skills can be detrimental to the growth of your business. These are the risks to avoid:
Don’t be biased 🤨
According to Harvard University Professor Banaji, interviews can be affected by four types of biases: confirmation bias, effective heuristic, expectation anchor, and intuition. Biases are a dangerous obstacle to a quality interview, as they can force an ill-informed decision. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of their unconscious judgments. The Implicit Association Test from Harvard University is an excellent resource to identify and tame your biases. To take the IAT, proceed here.
Practice makes perfect 🙌🏽
Running interviews is a delicate task that requires practice. A good interviewer needs to hone their interviewing skills through repeated practice, such as interviewing coworkers or family members. Indeed, the more familiar you become with the interview technique, the more natural and smooth interviews will be. An interviewer who feels awkward or self-aware during the exchange is likely to create a stressful atmosphere. Therefore, it doesn’t hurt to put your questions and script to the test first.
Build a trust relationship 🤝
Over 9 in 10 professionals are nervous about job interviews. Therefore, the interviewer needs to make the unnatural format work and put their interlocutor at ease. Creating a positive connection with the interlocutor is a priority. Your communication and interviewing skills are detrimental:
- Make the interlocutor feel welcome: Offer them a drink, polite chit-chat before the interview.
- Always explain clearly how the interview is going to run and what to expect afterward.
- Schedule your time accordingly so that the conversation doesn’t feel rushed.
Uncertainty and the feeling you are not interested in can influence the interviewee’s performance.
From finding the talent you need to creating engaging success stories with your clients or partners, quality interviews make your business stand out. Good interviewing skills are at the core of positive and informative exchanges that can benefit the company. Think of them as a tool to get to know your interlocutor. The day you stop improving your skills is the day you stop learning from the people around you.