February 2nd, 2021

How to structure an interview

Let’s talk about your interview process. When you are sitting across from a candidate, do you follow a prepared list of questions, or do you conduct the interview as more of a conversation, with little preparation?

A study conducted in 1998, spanning 85 years of research showed that an unstructured interview process only yielded 14% of a candidate’s on-the-job performance, whereas having a structured set of predetermined questions gleaned according to the job description showed a 26% prediction of a candidate’s performance. At the very least, lack of structure compromises the link between the content of the interview and the job requirements due to different candidates being assessed in different ways.

It is not possible to foresee an employees’ job performance with absolute certainty, but by ensuring your interviews are structured, you can increase your chances of finding the right candidate for a role by reducing bias and covering each point with every candidate. This does not mean ‘firing’ questions at potential candidates, but instead having a comprehensive conversation, while ensuring core questions are being asked.
To help you get started, we’ve put together a handy checklist for you to go through when conducting your own interviews.

1. Define the requirements for the role

Ensuring you understand the requirements through job analysis allows you to tailor both behavioral and situational questions to the job at hand.

2. Develop a framework for the interview questions

The set of questions you ask should allow you to understand whether the candidate has the critical skills for the role, as well as allowing you to assess candidates side by side. Both situational and behavioral questions should be job related, leading and probing. Ensure your questions are open ended rather than having a “yes” or “no” answer to gain significant insights. Ensure that you cover all salient points on the candidate’s CV, including:

i. Education – discover why they chose their major, what their final grade was and any professional certifications

ii. Company – determine how they got the job, where they fit into the department structure, what their responsibilities and key achievements are, the salary and benefits and their reason for leaving – rinse and repeat for each successive company

iii. Personal – ascertain their ambitions through their 5 biggest considerations for their next career move, what kind of company and industry, their salary expectations, their family situation, the location of the company, the job title, the responsibilities

3. Provide a clear timeline and manage expectations

Before the end of the interview, ensure the candidate knows what to expect and doesn’t leave in uncertainty. Let them know when they can expect to hear from you – this allows them to plan their future and ensures that they consider before accepting another offer as they know they will be hearing from you on a certain date. Keep them updated throughout the process until an offer is ready to be extended, even if there is no news. This will ensure the candidate knows that you care about them and will make them more likely to accept the offer, or alternatively, give them a good experience which will lead to positive word of mouth.

A structured, thorough interview process allows a candidate to feel confident in your organization and removes frivolous doubts from their mind. Focusing on creating a thoughtful and meaningful interview process will allow interviewers to evaluate candidates more effectively, thus ensuring you hire the best person for the job.

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1 year ago