Interview Skills Important to Both Candidate and Employer

Interviews skills are critical, especially now, as the pool of candidates for positions continue to grow. It’s important to know some fundamental skills for interviewing. It’s equally important for the person conducting the interview to ask appropriate questions. Even in this economy, a candidate is “interviewing” a company just as much as a company is interviewing a candidate. I recently wrote two e-zine articles on the topic of interviewing. The first is “The Ideal Interview – How a Woman Can Prepare” and the second is. “Conducting an Interview – How to Do it Well.” 

There are a few points from “Conducting an Interview – How to Do It Well,” which I would like to highlight.

One is establishing comfortable eye contact. This can be balancing act. Look your interviewer in the eye, but know when to glance away. Locking eyes with someone in a professional situation is inappropriate and staring is rude, however never looking into the person’s eyes communicates low self esteem, lack of confidence, or insecurity . I recommend looking the interviewer in the eye, then glancing elsewhere in the room perhaps every 30 seconds.  Make sure you look away for just a second or two.  If your glance doesn’t return to the interviewer soon enough, he/she may perceive that you are bored, distracted, or uncomfortable with eye contact.

Second, an interview is a mutual conversation. It’s important to read a candidate accurately and ask the right questions. Don’t start the interview by asking the candidate to tell you a little about herself. I recommend asking a more specific, directed question that actually provides focus for the candidate and yields you a better answer.  Try something like:  “How do you believe your professional experience and education can serve our organization?”  At some point during the interview you could even ask the candidate to tell you about their favorite subjects in high school and/or college.  This reveals a great deal about that person.

Also, consider asking the candidate to do something during the interview.  Doing something may mean reading aloud, solving a problem, completing a small project, and/or writing a passage on a particular topic. I would also recommend asking the person to do something while he/she is on site with you.  That way you know for sure it is their work and not someone else’s.

Finally, follow up with each candidate you interview. So many employers do not do this because they don’t think it’s important or they are busy with other things and don’t schedule it.  Other times it doesn’t happen because the interviewer is insecure about how to handle the call or email.  Whatever the reason, it’s rude to ignore candidates you’ve interviewed.  Show them some respect by contacting each of them and informing them of their status.

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