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As a recruiter or hiring manager, you may feel that when it comes to interviewing candidates, it comes very natural to you. Maybe you really enjoy asking people questions, gaining insight into their experiences, and finding out who they are as professionals. But are you interviewing them in the best way possible and getting true insight into what they’re really capable of? Or are you asking them questions that are a little bit tricky and are making them nervous or limiting their ability to show you who they truly are?

Let’s discuss the right ways to interview a candidate, so that any job interview you take is not only efficient, but also allows you to gain clear insight into whether the candidate is a real potential employee for your company or not.

Have at least 3-5 questions ready beforehand

You must have a couple of predetermined questions that you want to ask every candidate for a certain job position. Never start an interview by asking the candidate, ‘So what questions do you have for me?’ Good job candidates can smell lack of preparation on your part as a hiring manager right away if you start with this question. Being prepared with targeted questions shows professionalism on your part as a hiring manager. These questions can be anything that you personally feel are appropriate for determining if they are a potential fit for the job and the company. You can always start off with the classic, ‘Tell me about yourself’, followed by, ‘Why do you feel you are fit for this position?’. Ask questions that have a unique purpose as to why you would be asking them.

Communicate your expectations from the employee in the job role

Throughout the interview process, it is important for you to communicate your expectations from the person in the job role you’re interviewing for. As a hiring manager, it’s easy for you to get caught up with just asking the interviewee questions about them, their roles and their experiences, without revealing very much about yourself, the job or the company. Make sure that you let the job candidate know what it is that you expect from the candidate to achieve if they are given the job. When you explain the goal and purpose for the job position, a good candidate will show enthusiasm and excitement in their face. But if they’re not the right fit for the role, you can see from their facial expression that maybe they’re not really looking to contribute or add value to your organization.

Highlight the items in the CV that you want to ask about

When you highlight specific experiences and then ask the job candidate about them, it gives them the opportunity to showcase their value to you. It gives them a chance to tell you what they can do for you and what experience they have. If you observe that they are able to answer you well by giving you clear details, then you know that they know what they’re talking about and that they have the ability to do the job. But if they’re somehow stumbling or tripping over their words, then that’s a red flag.

Know how to tell if a candidate is just nervous

As a hiring manager, you should be able to tell the difference between someone who’s just nervous versus someone who has the wrong experience credentials or is unqualified. At times, recruiters and hiring managers mistakenly assume that when a candidate is nervous, it’s a sign that they are probably not a good fit for their organization. In reality, nervousness should not equate to their potential. Maybe they’re nervous because of the way you greeted them, or the way you’re exhibiting your body language to them. You want to give a fair chance to every candidate that comes through the door to be able to demonstrate and prove himself to you, because that slightly nervous candidate might actually be a superstar employee who is hardworking and dedicated, but you were too quick to dismiss them because they were nervous.

On the other hand, if you have done a good job at getting them to feel settled and not nervous, and they’re still struggling to tell you what their experience is, then that is a red flag as that indicates that maybe they don’t have the right qualifications to match what you’re looking for.

Let the candidate know what the next steps will be

If a candidate seems to be a fit for your company, let them know what the next steps would be at the end of the interview. Managing expectations is extremely important in keeping your reputation as a hiring manager, and also as a professional in general.

So there you have it! Those were some tips on how to interview your job candidates the right way.