There’s plenty of competition for the most skilled workers, and CV-based hiring is no longer enough if you want to ensure you hire them first. You can miss out on top talent if you don’t test candidates’ skills or hold conversations with them.
As such, it’s important that you know how to get ready for interviews. It’s not just the candidates who have to be aware of what to expect during the dialogue – interviewers also need adequate preparation on what to ask and how to communicate with candidates.
If you’re a recruiter looking for the best ways to get ready for interviews, you’ve come to the right place. This article will guide you through how to prepare for an interview and offer insightful tips.
Table of contents
- Understand your candidates’ skills
- Make a good first impression
- Be ready to answer candidates’ questions
- Prepare your interview questions
- Keep a rigid interview schedule
- Plan alongside other interviewers
- Pay attention to the candidate’s delivery
- Don’t shy away from eye contact
- Align your stance with the candidate’s
- Be positive
- ✅ Get prepped for interviews with TestGorilla
Top 10 tips to prepare for an interview
Below, you’ll find our top tips on how to be ready for an interview. By following these golden rules, you’ll make a lasting impression on candidates and solidify your business as a desirable place to work.
1. Understand your candidates’ skills
Even before you start conducting interviews, you should already have a good idea of candidates’ relevant skills and abilities.
If you follow a traditional recruitment method, you likely review your applicants’ resumes and cover letters before the interview to try and determine who has the skills needed for the role. However, skills testing is a more accurate and efficient alternative to resume evaluation that will give you a clear sense of candidates’ abilities.
After giving your applicants skills tests, you can use the results of the test to decide on the best candidates to invite to an interview. You’ll be much better prepared with objective data that tells you which areas the candidates are strongest in and which they may need growth in.
During the interview, you can probe deeper to find out more about the candidate’s skills and background.
2. Make a good first impression
Beginning the interview positively can be beneficial for both you and your candidates. Many experienced interviewers like to start the session by building rapport. They find a shared interest or general theme to discuss with the candidate before drilling down into the more serious questions.
To get the conversation flowing, you could also begin by briefly describing your organization, discussing the company culture, or talking about a recent project you’ve worked on.
3. Be ready to answer candidates’ questions
Interviews are not one-way discussions. Employees are longer satisfied with simply working for a paycheck: 48% of workers want to find an employer whose values align with their own.
This means that candidates will evaluate you – a representative of your company – as much as you evaluate them. As such, it’s increasingly common for candidates to ask questions during or at the end of the interview.
You can get ahead of this by anticipating what questions they may ask and providing them with this information during the interview to offer as clear a picture of the job role as possible. Remember that candidates often ask questions related to salary and next steps.
4. Prepare your interview questions
If you don’t prepare your interview questions properly, you cannot hope to evaluate candidates effectively. You wouldn’t expect a “wing it” attitude from a serious candidate, so why should you show any nonchalance or disregard for the interview?
To conduct a productive interview, you should ask questions that evaluate skills relevant to the position, such as communication or leadership abilities. Looking at the job description can help you formulate the most appropriate questions. Using generic questions isn’t recommended since they aren’t sufficient for assessing a candidate’s suitability for your specific role.
5. Keep a rigid interview schedule
The best interviews are based on a planned agenda and structured to stay productive and on track. It’s best to plan ahead to avoid being late to the interview because of a meeting and to ensure you don’t end up rushing the candidate out because of tight scheduling.
Allot the same amount of time for the interview for all candidates to make sure the hiring process is fair. Don’t keep them waiting or wrap up the interview too early – this could leave a bad impression on the candidate. Also, make sure you have an overview of the areas you’d like to delve into, and tailor it to each interviewee.
6. Plan alongside other interviewers
If there are multiple interview stages in your hiring process or you’re conducting a panel interview, it’s vital that you co-ordinate with the other recruiters on your team before the interviews. This will ensure you don’t end up repeating the same question or giving off the impression that you’re unprepared to the candidate.
7. Pay attention to the candidate’s delivery
It sounds obvious, but as an interviewer, you must take note of what the candidate is saying. This will enable you to identify not only whether the content of their speech is impressive but also whether their delivery is appropriate.
It’s common for candidates to practice their answers out loud before going to an interview. Although it’s a great way of committing responses to memory, this can run the risk of sounding unnatural and forced. As a hiring manager, look for candidates who have prepared their answers but aren’t simply monologuing a memorized response.
8. Don’t shy away from eye contact
Studies have indicated that 93% of communication is nonverbal. That’s why conveying the right body language in an interview is important.
Eye contact, an upright posture, and a firm handshake are all great ways of showing confidence without overstepping into arrogance. Your body language can help ease the candidate into the situation and make them feel more comfortable. This is critical since you want to get them talking as much as possible.
Of course, too much eye contact is unsettling, as is all over-assertive body language. Your aim is not to make the candidate nervous but to coax as much information from them as you can. After all, you’ll be evaluating them based on what they say, so you need them to open up as much as possible in the allotted interview time.
9. Align your stance with the candidate’s
Interviews are often seen as competitions between the interviewer and the candidate; the candidate is trying to get their hands on a job, whereas the interviewer is trying to hold them off. This back-and-forth, tug-of-war-like dance can end up pitting both parties against each other.
You can make interviews more productive by expressing your understanding of the candidate’s position. For instance, conceding that interviews are hard or stressful can comfort the candidate and level out the playing field in terms of power dynamics. This, in turn, encourages more open discussions between you and the interviewee.
10. Be positive
It might sound obvious, but people react positively to positivity. Mimicry is an innate human trait, so if you head into an interview with an optimistic attitude, it’s likely that the candidate will pick up on this and begin to feel the same way.
Likewise, it’s often best to avoid asking questions that elicit a negative response from the interviewee. Questions like “What was your least favorite thing about your last job?” can steer the discussion into more unproductive territory and are simply not worth asking. It’s far better to uncover what a candidate is passionate about than the opposite.
Being positive is especially relevant when concluding the interview. After all, you want to leave the candidate with a great impression of your business, so it’s crucial to close politely and positively.
The best candidates will likely receive multiple job offers from different businesses, but they may pick your organization over others if you give them the best impression.
Get prepped for interviews with TestGorilla
Looking for a helping hand with your interview prep?
At TestGorilla, we offer a whole range of pre-employment tests for recruiters to boost your chances of hiring the best talent for your company. By asking candidates to complete skills assessments before the interview, you can be sure you’re speaking to only the best.
Now that you know how to get ready for interviews, sign up for a free demo today to see how TestGorilla can benefit your hiring process.