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How to master interviewing

Interviews can be difficult for all involved, but if you want to make sure you’re hiring the right people you need to utilise these tactics.

The main task of a recruitment agency is to make sure you hire the best candidates for your clients. Usually, that will involve an interview stage. However, If you’re not careful, this could be part of the recruitment process in which you make the biggest mistakes, leaving your client with a poor hire.

This is no laughing matter. Some 39 per cent of chief financial officers say hiring the wrong person cost them productivity, and 11 per cent said it led to a drop in sales. If you want your clients to continue providing you with work, you’ll need to make sure your interviews are as perfect as possible.

Whether you’ve been interviewing candidates for years or have your first one scheduled tomorrow, you’re bound to be able to benefit from one of these tips. Here’s how you can master interviewing:

Plan out your questions (and when to ask them)

Most interview candidates go through the same stages. First, they’re nervous and flustered, finding it hard to answer your questions, but as the interview goes on they open up and talk more freely. With that in mind, what questions do you think you should ask, and at what point in the process?

Alida Miranda-Wolff, the founder of talent strategy firm Ethos, believes you should start with simple and broad questions in order to “warm up nervous candidates and get them talking sooner”. You can then progress to questions about their employment, challenges they’ve faced and how they will fit into your client’s company.

Avoid confirmation bias

Confirmation bias is the practice of discarding or ignoring facts that don’t fit your pre-established conclusions, and it can be a real issue in an interview setting. You probably don’t realise you’re doing it, but if you’ve ever thought “this person doesn’t seem right for the job, but we’ll interview them anyway” then you might have coloured the interview with your assumptions.

According to Nikoletta Bika, senior writer at Workable, this is likely to lead to a bad decision. You need to identify confirmation bias in yourself and try to open your mind to other possibilities. If you’re sure a candidate will be perfect for the job before you interview them, spend the interview trying to find flaws in their skills or experience.

Don’t trip your candidates up

It might seem like your job as an interviewer is to try to catch candidates out saying something wrong, but Frances Bolles Haynes and Daniel Porot – co-authors of 101 Toughest Interview Questions – point out that this is much less preferable to having candidates who feel at ease during the process.

If you spend your interview trying to trip candidates up, you’ll probably find that you know very little about them by the end of the process. You want to find out as much useful information as you can, which means letting interviewees know there are no wrong answers and establishing a friendly rapport so they are more willing and able to answer your questions in detail.

If you can manage all this, you will find that your interviews are not only easier but also more effective, allowing you to put only the best candidates in front of your clients.

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