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Step-by-step guide to employee interviews

Written by Raji Oluwaniyi
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Whether you are hiring a sales manager or team supervisor, you’ll need to have an effective interview process for any role. Employee interviews are vital if you want to know more about your candidates and whether they can succeed in the open position.

Interviewing potential employees can be easy with the right planning. But it’s important to remember that how you conduct your interviews often determines whether you’ll hire the right candidate.

During an interview, you want to ask the right questions and create a conducive atmosphere for candidates to express themselves so that you can see if they have what it takes to do well in the role.

In this article, we’ll provide a step-by-step guide to employee interviews to show you the best way to conduct your interviews and hire top talent for your business.

What are interviews?

In the business world, an interview is a structured conversation between an employer and a job candidate. The interviewer asks the applicant questions to determine their suitability for the role. Interviews enable employers to understand potential employees’ skills through their answers to pre-planned questions.

Essentially, an interview is an opportunity for candidates to impress you with their skills and personality. It’s also a means for you to gauge how the candidates would perform if offered the job.

For an interview to progress smoothly, both you and the candidate you’re interviewing must prepare ahead of time.

The interview stage of recruitment is typically a hectic process to plan, especially when working within time constraints. Interviews can last anywhere between 15 minutes and several hours.

You can achieve a well-structured interview when you know how to properly start an interview and the candidate knows how to answer your questions in a way that meets your expectations.

Therefore, as a hiring manager, you should have a guide on how the interview process should go, the questions you will ask, and the answers you expect to receive.

Steps to conducting employee interviews

10 steps to conducting employee interviews

An interview strategy helps you plan the interview ahead of time and prevents errors or slip-ups during the process. Here is a step-by-step guide to conducting employee interviews as a hiring manager:

Step 1: Define the role and its requirements

The first step to a successful employee interview is defining the open job role and what candidates need to succeed in it. To do this, you’ll need to conduct an in-depth job analysis and note the important qualities and skills required for the role.

Step 2: Prepare general and specific questions on the role

Before starting the interview, you must plan the questions you will ask candidates. These questions can either be general questions to test their critical-thinking skills or role-specific questions to verify their knowledge of the position and the expertise it requires.

You should also take time to create an interview scorecard that aligns with the interview questions. The scorecard should reflect the qualities you hope the candidate will display during the interview, allowing you to assess candidate responses based on those qualities.

Step 3: Screen each candidate thoroughly

Screening your candidates before an interview makes the process easier and less stressful because skills tests tell you how skilled and experienced the candidates are.

Furthermore, screening tests enable you to evaluate other traits and qualities relevant to the post. You can use tests like communication skills and a Business Ethics Compliance test to check if the candidates meet your requirements.

Step 4: Eliminate any distractions

Employee interviews demand your utmost attentiveness to spot whether candidates possess subtle characteristics that may be beneficial to the position and your company. 

Ensuring that the interview process is distraction-free helps you remain attentive throughout the interview. You can eliminate distractions by putting away your phones and gadgets before the interview and asking the candidates to do the same.

Step 5: Introduce yourself at the start of the interview session

A proper introduction at the beginning of the interview session helps cultivate an environment where the candidate feels free to express themselves openly. This way, you get to know the candidates and what they can do better.

Step 6: Ask the candidates to introduce themselves

After introducing yourself and your organization, the next step is to ask the candidate to introduce themselves. You can also ask about their hobbies, work experience, and professional history.

Step 7: Ask the candidates the prepared questions on the role

At this stage, you can ask the candidates all the questions you’ve prepared related to the position, including questions on the general functions of the role and more specific questions if you have any.

Step 8: Inquire about candidates’ skills and additional qualifications

The next step is to inquire about the applicants’ skills and qualifications. This means asking about their educational history, talents, and additional skill sets, like their communication skills.

Step 9: Leave room for applicants’ questions

Toward the end of the interview, allow the candidates to ask questions about the role and your company. This gives them more knowledge about what to expect from the position.

Given that 48% of employees are actively looking for a new job at an organization that aligns with their personal values, expect to receive questions about your company culture and diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.

Step 10: Tell the candidate what comes next

The final step in the interview process is to tell the candidates what comes next if their application is successful. At this point, you can inform them about your orientation and onboarding process and when they can expect feedback on the interview.

Things to look out for during interviews

In addition to following the interview guidelines for interviewers above, there are some additional qualities you should look out for in candidates. Below are six things to take note of during employee interviews:

5 things to look out for during interviews

1. Transparency

During the interview, assess the candidate’s transparency while responding to your questions. This includes checking for integrity and accountability as they speak. To properly assess their transparency, you must study the candidate’s knowledge and skills before the interviews, for example, by using skills tests.

2. Attentiveness

Another thing to note is how attentively the candidates listen to each question and how involved they are in the interview. Take notice of whether they have a relatively high or low attention span. This could reflect how focused and efficient they would be in the role.

3. Time management

Checking how quickly and accurately the candidates reply to your questions can help you gauge their time-management skills in relation to the open job role.

4. Evidence of prior preparation for the interview

As the interview progresses, look for evidence that the candidate prepared sufficiently for the interview. You can do this by watching out for errors in their speech, incorrect replies, and delayed responses to questions.

5. Confidence

Confidence is a core quality to look out for during employee interviews. The way a candidate acts and carries themselves tells you a lot about their personality. And once you understand their personality, you’ll have a better idea of how they might behave and perform in the role.

The most effective way to screen your candidates

Screening your candidates before conducting interviews not only eases your recruitment process but also minimizes the risk of hiring underqualified candidates for the role. However, not all screening methods are equal.

Not only are CVs an unreliable source of information about your candidates, but they also leave room for bias in your recruitment. Thankfully, pre-employment tests are the perfect replacement for CVs.

TestGorilla has hundreds of pre-employment tests that enable you to screen as many candidates as you need while eradicating bias from the recruitment process. When you use our tests, you can rest assured that your business will only get the best candidates for your open role.

Create a free TestGorilla account today and start enjoying effective recruitment.

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