Interviewing candidates for an open position in my company has never been an easy task for me. I have always tried to keep a close vigil on what specifics I need to understand. I have never hesitated to put the candidates on the spot and test them. I don’t believe in embarrassing anyone, but it has always been effective to be thorough with the questions being asked. It is also important to let the interviewee be comfortable before I start firing the critical questions.
For conducting an effective interview, I prefer to provide some space to the interviewee in the beginning so that the person feels comfortable and settled-down. So, during the opening few minutes, I generally ask very common and simple questions about the person, like, where he/she is from, what is his/her educational background, where he/she is working now, etc. This gives a feeling of fellowship and let’s the person open up. Once I feel that the person is able to understand the questions and apprehend what answers are expected, I go in for the critical (specific) questions on which the selection of the applicant depends most.
There are some interviewers who like to push the interviewee to an awkward position by asking questions which does not have a to the point answer. This is a way by which one evaluates how positively a person reacts to situations. However, I don’t believe in this technique. I have found that there are very simple questions which can provide the interviewer with the desired results. Trust me, it is the simplest of the questions, I find people struggling with the most. For example, “Why should our company recruit you?”
Most interviewees find it very difficult to answer this question. Though I am quite sure that they must have faced this question several times, I find that nobody ever tries to frame up a good answer for this. What I look for in the answer is how the person can add value to my company.
Another example can be, “What are the reasons for which you want to change your job?” Most of the times the answers I get are like, “I am not getting enough exposure in terms of the variety of work that is allotted to me” or “I am not being used to my potential” or seldom, I even get to hear that “My salary is quite low”. If we analyse the first two options, it seems either the company in which the interviewee is working does not have enough project in hand or (the pessimistic view) the interviewee is not performing well, hence not getting his share of work. And, if we think about the third answer, regarding less salary, it might mean either the interviewee is very efficient and the company can’t do justice to his remuneration package for obvious reasons, or (the pessimistic approach), the interviewee is only behind earning more money, so as soon as he /she get a better opportunity he /she might leave any job.
Statistically speaking there are varied reasons for leaving a job, the chart below shows the graphical interpretation of the major reasons collectively:
Whatever might be the actual reason, as an interviewer I look for an answer which is frank and honest. I try to gather information about the company the interviewee is currently working, and be it a blessing or a curse; in our industry it is not much difficult to obtain. So, I expect that the interviewee realizes this and comes out straight to the point in such questions.
Also, in my opinion, having a relaxed approach for conducting the interview is always beneficial. If I rush through the interview (sometimes due to circumstances, I need to do that too), I have noticed that I miss out on certain important points to discuss, which results into an incomplete evaluation. Hence, I make it a point that, I have enough time to sail through slowly and give ample time to the interviewee to frame the answers properly; as well as myself to listen carefully and understand the points mentioned.
Effective interviewing techniques are something which comes with practice and experience, but following these guidelines have always helped me to do this crucial task with ease and confidence.