How to improve your organization’s interview process

There is no shortage of advice on what candidates seeking jobs need to do before interviews. We, the HR practitioners have said it all: how to dress, how to answer interview questions, how to ask questions about remuneration and so on. As the candidates pore over time tested advice on successfully going through an interview, it is important to consider what HR practitioners need to consider before interviewing candidates. After all, practice makes perfect. If you are seeking to improve your interviewing process, try incorporating some of these tips:

Research, research, research

A great interview should be based on sound research. If you are seeking candidates to fill a vacancy in another department, it is important to get the specifics of the position from the head of that department. What is the job description? What qualities and skills should the candidate seeking to fill the position possess? Whenever it is necessary, invite the head of the department to the interviewing panel. For instance, a candidate seeking to fill the position of a software developer needs to be conversant with programming languages. Inviting the head of the IT department to the interview panel could help in determining the competency of the candidate in programming.

Running a HR department can be a daunting task. At times, HR practitioners get bogged down by other responsibilities thus sparing little time for researching on candidates. HR practitioners need to carefully read and review resumes before an interview. Doing this provides the HR practioner with an opportunity to pick out gaps that are questionable such as a long break in work history or sketchy details about a special project.  It may be necessary to do a background check in some instances.

Ask the right questions

The role of an interview is to determine the suitability of a candidate by engaging him or her in person. HR practitioners need to tailor their questions in a manner that enables the candidate to provide information about their work experience and area of expertise. This does not mean that the HR practioner can rapidly fire questions at the candidate as soon as he or she walks into the room. Instead, the 80/20 rule should be followed. The interviewer should do 20% of the talking while the interviewee should do 80% of the talking.

There are questions that should be avoided because they could be deemed as discriminatory. Some of these questions include:

  • Are you married/ single/ dating?
  • What ethnic group do you belong to?
  • What is your religious affiliation?

To avoid getting into murky territory during an interview, the HR practitioner should ask open-ended questions that lead to further discussion on the candidate’s’ work experience and area of expertise. Some of the questions that the HR practitioner can ask include:

What are your primary responsibilities at your current position?

How does your job relate to the overall goals of the organization?

Which aspect of your job do you consider most rewarding? Why?

What are you looking for in your next job?

Listen carefully

There is always a task pending in the world of an HR practitioner. In this success-oriented age, it is easy to get lost in the next email, or project in an attempt to maintain a successful track record. An HR practitioner who approaches his or her job like that will easily miss what is in front of him. Good HR practitioners avoid the next-high trap. They engage every candidate during an interview. They pay attention to every detail. They are always seeking an opportunity to attract and hire the best talent because that is the first step towards winning the war for talent.

What steps do you take as a HR practitioner before conducting an interview?