Tips for Effective Interviewing

The following blog is designed for employers who are looking for guidance as they interview potential employees.  But, The Office Nerd has recently launched “The Resume Nerd,” a division targeted to job seekers!  Stay tuned for a blog announcement on The Resume Nerd that discusses interviewing from the perspective of the job seeker! Be sure to LIKE The Resume Nerd on Facebook!

Being interviewed for a job is stressful! A lot is riding on your performance. Because of this, there are countless guides for how to interview well, giving tips on everything from what you should wear to how firm your handshake ought to be. 

But what’s going on on the other side of the table? Who teaches interviewERS how to interview well? Where are the guides, where are the tips? As a business owner, there is almost more pressure on you, the interviewer, than there is on the interviewee. It is on you to choose the best fit for the role you have to offer, and your decision can have dramatic consequences, whether great or terrible. 

So, here I am to guide you: 

Set your standards:
Knowing what you are looking for in an employee is vital, so take your time in consideration! List what skills, experiences, or traits are necessary for the job and assign a maximum score possible for each. Assigning a maximum score for each requirement or desired trait ensures that you compare the interviewee to the role they need to fill and not simply to the other candidates. This will allow you to hire the best person for the job period, not the best person for the job out of the batch of interviewees. 

Research the interviewee:
You should know a little bit about each interviewee. Though you should keep an open mind going into each interview, having a heads up about each candidate’s background will help you tailor effective questions. For example, if you know that your next interviewee has had experience managing employees, you might know to ask them how they have dealt with work-place conflict in the past. 

Ask consistent questions:
Speaking of tailoring questions, below is a list of several different types of questions for interviews. I would suggest writing out a set of relevant questions to ask each interviewee; this will make it easier to evaluate each candidate fairly. You should leave time, however, for questions specific to each interviewee. Whether you come up with them on the spot during the flow of conversation or whether you prepared them in advance based on the candidate’s cover letter or resume, tailoring questions can be a useful tool for finding the right person for the job. 

  • Situational questions: “If a customer became angry and started shouting, what would you do?” 
  • Fact-based questions: “Have you led a project in the past, if so, what steps did you take to complete it?” 
  • Behavioral questions: “Tell me about a time when you had a disagreement with a superior and how you handled it.”
  • Opinion questions: “How do you define success?” “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?”
  • Skills-based questions: “What experience or education do you have that would help you fulfill this role?” 
  • Here is a list of questions that are illegal to ask in interviews:

Grab a partner:
It can be helpful to have a partner to debrief with after each interview. They can help you process everything discussed, evaluate how the candidate held up under questioning, and remind you to stick to the standards you have set.